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It’s Okay to Clean Up Homes and Businesses Damaged by Hurricane Irma

Release date: 
September 16, 2017
Release Number: 
NR 004

ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Homeowners, renters and business owners affected by Hurricane Irma in St. Thomas and St. John are reminded that it isn’t necessary to wait for a housing inspector before cleaning up, say officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Whether that inspection is with FEMA, an insurance company, or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), emergency management officials report that it’s always a good practice, prior to a visit from an inspector, to take the necessary steps to make your home safe and sanitary.

If possible, take photographs of the damage before cleaning up. Also, keep receipts on purchases and services related to hurricane cleanup.

“We understand that residents want to get their hurricane-damaged homes cleaned up as soon as possible, but may be wondering whether this will affect their opportunity for disaster assistance,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer William Vogel. “The answer is, you don’t need to wait for us to get your property cleaned up. Just be sure to document the damage.”

St. Thomas and St. John have been designated for federal Individual Assistance as a result of the September 7 major disaster declaration resulting from Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Survivors who sustained uninsured or underinsured Irma-related damage to their homes, vehicles, personal property, business or its inventory beginning Sept. 5, 2017, and continuing should register with FEMA for assistance.

FEMA’s housing inspectors will contact survivors who have registered with FEMA either by phone or directly in order to set up the inspection. These inspectors carry FEMA identification and are thoroughly trained.

Registration with FEMA can be completed online at, in Spanish at, or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Operators are standing by to assist survivors in English, Spanish and many other languages.


Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS - Video Relay Service) (TTY: 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

For official information on the recovery effort following Hurricane Irma please visit, or Follow us on twitter @femaregion2.

To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at  For those who wish to help, cash donations offer voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands also has the “Fund for the Virgin Islands” at

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 11:59