Merrimack, NH - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is scheduled to open a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Alstead Friday at the Third Congregational Church, 14 River Street, to help bring one-on-one assistance to residents and businesses coping with disaster-related concerns arising from the recent severe storms and flooding. The DRC in Keene opened Wednesday at 25 Roxbury Street.
As a result of the major disaster declaration by President Bush on October 26, disaster assistance is available to individuals and businesses located in Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Sullivan counties.
The following set of questions and answers explains how the centers help disaster victims:
Do I go to a DRC to start the process of getting aid?
No. Start the process before you go to a DRC by registering at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech or hearing impairment, call the TTY number instead: 1-800-462-7585. Registration can also be done online at www.fema.gov.
Is going to a DRC mandatory after I register?
You do not need to go to a DRC. Mostly, it is a chance to meet face-to-face with disaster recovery experts, and get personal guidance on your disaster-related needs. You can visit as many times as you like throughout the recovery process.
Who is there to talk to in a DRC?
- Disaster specialists from FEMA and the state are there, and can explain programs, such as grants for home repairs or temporary rental housing. Additionally, they can help provide referrals to American Red Cross and other voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs.
- Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are there to answer questions about the low-interest disaster loan program and provide any extra help you may need or want with a loan application.
- Mitigation specialists can provide do-it-yourself tips on how to make your home or business safer and lessen the risk of future damage or loss.
Would I go to a DRC if I do not plan to register for aid?
You might. The DRCs are open to the public, and representatives from local, state and federal agencies are there to provide resources and information on such issues as:
- How to make your home or business safe against disasters
- Having a family disaster plan
- Flood insurance
The SBA specialists at the center are an invaluable resource for business owners, as well as home owners and renters, with disaster-related questions. For individuals, state and volunteer agencies may be able to provide assistance even if you are not eligible for any federal program.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.