Community

FEMA group visits Valley

A community relations team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently in Snoqualmie, going door-to-door and talking to residents and businesses about the need to register for disaster recovery assistance.

Team members ask that all residents affected by the recent flood register with FEMA, by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Registration may also be made online at www.disasterassistance.gov. The registration deadline is March 31.

Make sure FEMA agents are real

Valley residents affected by the January flood have been warned to be careful of scams and other fraud during recovery efforts.

“We urge people to be careful and vigilant as they recover from this disaster,” said Willie Nunn, FEMA federal coordinating officer in charge of the recovery efforts. “Unfortunately, in these situations, some people prey on others, taking advantage of their misfortunes. We urge people to be especially careful of those requesting personal information, those misrepresenting themselves as FEMA officials, and those asking for money.”

Officials are particularly concerned about rip-off artists pretending to be employed by FEMA, the Small Business Administration or other agencies, but who are not. To safeguard against disaster-related fraud, officials recommend the following precautions:

• Ask for proper identification. A FEMA or SBA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone’s affiliation with an agency. Always ask to see the laminated official photo identification card all federal employees carry. If they don’t have it, they are not official representatives. Applicants should also be aware that they may receive visits from more than one official inspector or representative.

• Under no circumstances are FEMA representative allowed to accept money. Neither FEMA nor other agency representatives are allowed to accept money. FEMA does not charge for any programs or services. While FEMA inspectors assess damage, the agency does not hire or endorse specific contractors.

• Safeguard personal information. If someone requests personal information outside of the official registration process, do not provide it. FEMA inspectors never require this information. Applicants who registered for FEMA assistance received a registration number, and official FEMA and SBA representatives will have that number with them.

To officially register for FEMA disaster assistance, affected residents can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 800-462-7585) or online at www.disasterassistance.gov. They will receive a registration number to use with subsequent inquiries or to check the status of their registration.

Feds declare flood disaster

King County residents still recovering from damage caused by the January storm and flooding are a step closer to getting some federal help.

On Friday, Jan. 30, President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster for last month’s severe winter storm that impacted King County.

The presidential declaration authorizes FEMA to begin working with state and local government to provide assistance to individuals and businesses that incurred damage or losses from flooding and landslides between the dates of Jan. 6 and Jan. 16.

FEMA established a Disaster Recovery Center in King County to provide information and guidance regarding disaster recovery. Contact the center at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit www.fema.gov.

Individuals or businesses seeking federal assistance must be registered directly with FEMA to be eligible for federal disaster assistance. Once registered, FEMA will work with individuals to guide them through the recovery process.

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