Project Contact




Homeless To Independence Inc. is an All-Volunteer, Faith-Based, 501©3 non-profit organization. We do NOT receive any grant funding what-so-ever to pay bills for anyone in any situation. We do not give away money. We do not give out loans against any items for money.

This ministry is supported with generous financial donations that are used to help keep us functioning. Our purpose is to help supply individuals and families with personal needs such as food, toiletries, clothing, household items, furniture and baby/adult diapers/wipes both locally and to areas effected by disasters. At this time, we do not offer any shelter or transitional housing services. Again, we DO NOT pay any bills. We DO NOT pay any rents or mortgages.

If you are actually homeless, or about to be homeless or need emergency assistance of any kind, you can:

1. DIAL “211” from a:

a. Land line telephone. Tell the receiver your situation and what you need. They will give you information specific for the physical location you are currently at plus any referrals you may need. They have the most up to the minute information for your specific area. Dialing “211” will get you help and much more info than this office can provide. Homeless to Independence wants you to have all the information you need to get through the situation you are in.

b. Cell Telephone – this will ONLY WORK if the area code of your telephone is calling “211” within the very same County you got your cell telephone in!

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have a land-line telephone or cell telephone, go to your local police department, library, or house of worship and ask to use their land-line telephone. They may even make the call on your behalf.

2. Use the internet and go to:


For those of you looking for employment through-out the United States, District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, simply send me an email to:


Homeless To Independence Inc. is not responsible for misprints or cancellations of events by the event holders, landlord and/or their agent, or ourselves. Homeless to Independence Inc. also reserves the right to “NOT” offer services to people and/or persons that are rude, unpleasant, and untruthful in any way shape or form, belligerent and the like.




OFFICE NUMBER IS: 1-732-264-7500

Please note that our office does have very limited volunteer staff and if we are one telephone line we cannot answer the other line. There is simply not enough time in the day to answer and/or return each and every telephone call.




The State Mitigation Planning Key Topics Bulletin: Mitigation Strategy is now available in the FEMA library:

This document outlines a five-step process states can use to update the mitigation strategy in their state hazard mitigation plans. These steps include validating mitigation goals, evaluating and updating existing mitigation actions, identifying new mitigation actions, prioritizing mitigation actions, and identifying current and potential funding sources. Considerations for linking local and tribal mitigation strategies with the state mitigation strategy are also provided.

The Mitigation Strategy Key Topics Bulletin completes a series of four brief documents aimed at providing states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. Territories with various approaches and resources to meet the regulatory and policy requirements in the State Mitigation Plan Review Guide, which became effective on March 6, 2016. The Guide presents FEMA’s official policy on and interpretation of the natural hazard mitigation planning requirements for states established in the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR Part 201). The other three Key Topics Bulletins cover the Risk Assessment, Planning Process, and Mitigation Capabilities.

For more information and updates on FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Planning Program, please visit

POSTED 11-15-16

and if I may add – their shot records also!

Pet Preparedness Tips


Power Outages and Food Safety


Flood Water


Tip for Businesses for Hurricane Season:

Download the FEMA App

The FEMA app is your one-stop-shop with tools and tips to keep you and your employees safe before, during, and after disasters. Stay updated with weather-related alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service. Upload and share your disaster photos to help out emergency managers. Save a custom list of the items in your family’s emergency kit, as well as the places you will meet in case of an emergency. Get tips on what to do before, during, and after over 20 types of disasters. And locate open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person at Disaster Recovery Centers. Download the FEMA app at:



don't forget fido




Disaster Resources for Older Americans
Managing Agency U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Program Description

The Administration on Aging (AoA) offers a website that provides a comprehensive overview of a wide variety of topics, programs and services related to aging. The AoA website provides a Disaster Preparedness Manual for the Aging Network, which provides valuable safety information in time of a disaster.

General Program Requirements
The emergency preparedness resource page is targeted to older Americans and is available to the public. Whether you are an older individual, a caregiver, a community service provider, a researcher, or a student, you will find valuable user-friendly information.

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process
For more information, see the Program Contact Information below.

Program Contact Information
Please visit the Disaster Resources for Older Americans website for further information:

Posted 01-06-14


Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Managing Agency U.S. Department of Labor

Program Description
The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a Presidentially declared major disaster.

General Program Requirements
In order to qualify for this benefit your employment or self-employment must have been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States. You must have been determined not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits (under any state or Federal law).

Payment will be made to an unemployed worker, who as a direct result of a Presidentially declared major disaster:

No longer has a job.
Is unable to reach their place of work.
Was to commence work and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job.
Has become the breadwinner for the household because the head of household died as a direct result of the disaster (if you became a breadwinner due to the death of a self-employed individual as a direct result of the disaster, you are considered an unemployed worker for DUA purposes).
Cannot work because of a disaster-incurred injury.

With exceptions for persons with an injury and for self-employed individuals performing activities to return to self-employment, individuals must be able to work and available for work, which are the same requirements to be eligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits.

To determine your eligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, you should contact the state unemployment insurance agency in the state where you are located as soon as possible after becoming unemployed. In some states, you can now file a claim by telephone and the Internet.

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process
For more information, see the Program Contact Information below.

Program Contact Information
For more information call: 1-877-872-5627
More information about this program and where to apply for benefits under this program is available at:
People who are hearing impaired may call this toll-free TTY number: 1-877-889-5627

Updated 05-31-13


Individuals and Households Program (IHP) – Housing Assistance
Managing Agency U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Program Description
After a Presidential disaster declaration is made, you may be eligible for disaster assistance, including grant assistance, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program (IHP). After you register with FEMA for disaster assistance, FEMA will consider you for several sorts of IHP assistance, including grants to repair or replace your damaged primary residence, and temporary housing assistance (including rental assistance).

General Program Requirements
In order to be eligible for this program, you must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien, and:

You must have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster by the President of the United States
Your primary residence has been affected, and damages to your primary residence are disaster related
Your primary residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible
The disaster-caused need cannot be met through other forms of disaster assistance or insurance
Your have insufficient or no insurance.

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process
To apply for this program please contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit:

Program Contact Information
For more information about this program please call:
1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)

Or visit the following site:



New Jerseyans Should Include Pets in Their Preparedness Plan
Main Content
Release date:
May 31, 2013

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages New Jerseyans to include their pets as they update their emergency plans.

For millions of animal owners, pets are important members of the household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, flood, tornado or terrorist attack could depend on emergency planning done today. Knowing what supplies to have available, how to evacuate with your pets, where your pets will stay and how you will meet your pets’ needs throughout the disaster are all critical questions to address.

All pet owners are urged to keep a pet emergency supply kit, which should include at least a three-day supply of food in an airtight, waterproof container, drinking water, bowls for the food and water, current photos of you and your pets together, physical descriptions of each pet, medication, vaccination records and first aid pet supplies. Also include a leash and a pet carrier that can double as a sleeping area. You should consider comfort items for your pets as well, such as their favorite toys and blankets.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pets’ emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and another farther away, where you will meet your buddy in an emergency.

Evacuating pets may be more difficult if you cannot evacuate in your own vehicle. Pet owners must understand their community’s evacuation plans and ensure they are prepared for any variations and restrictions. If officials call for an evacuation, you should be aware that many evacuation shelters do not accept pets and you must plan where you’ll shelter your pets in advance. Many hotels, motels, campsites and other facilities around the country now allow pets. For information on pet-friendly accommodations in your area, visit

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the NJOEM website at, or or call the toll-free numbers 1-800-BE-READY, TTY 1-800-462-7585 and 1-888-SE-LISTO. You can also text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) and sign up to receive monthly disaster safety tips on your mobile phone.

# # #

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.

Follow FEMA online at,,,

and Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Last Updated:
May 31, 2013 – 10:27
State/Tribal Government or Region:
Region II and New Jersey
Related Disaster:
New Jersey Hurricane Sandy


FEMA Individual & Community Preparedness Ebrief 05-28-13
Individual & Community Preparedness 05-28-13


We have just received this:

Good afternoon all-

Governor Christie wanted to express his appreciation for all that you and the members of your organization do in our communities. I have attached a note from him recognizing your efforts. Please feel free to pass it along to your membership and anyone who deserves recognition as a volunteer.

Thank you and best wishes for continued success.

Thank You Note from Governor Christie

May 7th, 2013

******************************************* Ready For Tornadoes
Ready For Tornadoes


Resources on Tornadoes
Resources on Tornadoes


Emergency Preparedness for Kids: Never Too Early
Main Content
Release date:
April 24, 2013
Release Number:

SAN JUAN, PR – What happens if there is an emergency and your children are not around? Will they be ready? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages families to have their children prepared for an emergency as early in their childhood as possible, making them smarter and more resilient as well as enhancing their opportunities to survive and help their communities recover faster from any type of disaster.

“Engaging children in the emergency preparedness process will automatically give them a sense of security and inclusion in such an important task. They will benefit from knowing what their family plans are and how things should work during this type of event, which can be a scary situation for them,” said FEMA’s Caribbean Area Division Director Alejandro De La Campa. “Kids can assist their parents when putting together an emergency kit and by taking care of the pets. It’s very important that they understand their roles in the family emergency plan.”

Every family needs an emergency communications plan that includes a list of phone numbers of key contacts to reach during an emergency; these can be written down in a piece of paper or card, for quick action. The list should include an out of town emergency contact that every family member can reach to inform where and how they are and when they will be able to reunite. Children should always keep a copy of this list in their belongings, such as school bag, luggage, sports bag and emergency kit.

During the upcoming vacation period, if kids will spend time in a summer camp, make sure you know the facility’s emergency procedures and adjust the family plan accordingly.

Another main component of any family emergency plan is an emergency kit. This should include enough supplies for at least three days, such as: Water, canned food, can opener, battery operated radio and additional batteries, first aid kit, flashlight, clothes, blanket, whistle, and any prescribed medicine. Kids can include personal items, such as their favorite toy or game.

Don’t forget that pets are part of the family and should be included in the emergency plan. Children can help by gathering enough pet food and water for at least three days; food should be kept in a waterproof container. Pets should wear a collar with a name tag and an extra collar should be included in the kit. If you haven’t done so already, consider acquiring a pet crate which is a safer to transport your pets. Do not forget any prescribed medicines, toys and supplies to clean up after the pet, such as; plastic bags, paper towels or newspapers.

Seek additional disaster preparedness information and identify hazards that may impact those places where your family spends most of their time and get ready now. Involve your children, practice your emergency plan frequently and talk about emergency preparedness. Learn more about emergency preparedness and how to improve your community resiliency to emergency situations by visiting or

FEMA News Desk (787) 296-3554, (787) 296-3560


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.
Last Updated:
April 25, 2013 – 09:56
State/Tribal Government or Region:
Puerto Rico and Region II


If you are in a car during a tornado, you should take the following actions:

Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion, if possible.
If you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in a car or truck.

For more tips on what to do when a tornado strikes, visit


Subject: Be aware

This information is from meetings I attended last Friday, and thought you all might want to be aware of it.

To be aware of:

Someone posing as an NFIP rep approached an elderly resident saying that he was there to provide her insurance and that all she had to do was give him $1,300, which she did. The person gave her a phone number and someone here tried to call it and someone speaking a foreign language answered. The woman stopped the check. I haven’t heard if they caught the imposter.

Six applicants didn’t know they had flood insurance with their mortgage until they received checks made out to them and their mortgage company. They were told by the mortgage company that the check must be used to pay their on their mortgage (instead of to repair their home). Apparently, if the mortgage company purchases the insurance they can determine how the money is used, they can either say the money must be used to pay on the loan, or hold the funds and pay receipts the clients gives them to repair their home. When the bank buys the insurance, there is no coverage for personal property. IMPORTANT POINT: If the client sends FEMA a letter stating that the bank required the settlement to pay on the loan, they may be eligible for assistance.

Other information: There are new Division Supervisors in all locations.

IMPORTANT: If a client is having problems with their insurance or still have not received a settlement we need to encourage people to find out what insurance it is and get the information to the state so they can forward it to the Insurance Commission, or encourage the client to call.

The NON-NFIP Insurance Hotline is: 609-292-7272.

The NFIP Hotline is 888-379-9531

Kristy Ray


Voluntary Agency Liaison

Deputy Group Supervisor


Posted 03-11-13


Building Codes Toolkit for Property Owners 02-08-13
Building Codes Toolkit for Property Owners


Home Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims
Managing Agency U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Program Description
Through Section 203(h), the Federal Government helps survivors in presidentially-designated disaster areas recover by making it easier for them to get mortgages and become homeowners or re-establish themselves as homeowners.

General Program Requirements
Individuals are eligible for this program if their homes are located in an area that was designated by the president as a disaster area and if their homes were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. Insured mortgages may be used to finance the purchase or reconstruction of a one-family home that will be the principal residence of the homeowner.

Loan Terms
Please contact an Federal Housing Administration (FHA) approved lender for loan term information. To find an approved lender, please visit:

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process
The borrower’s application for mortgage insurance must be submitted to the lender within one year of the president’s declaration of the disaster. Applications are made only through an Federal Housing Administration (FHA) approved lending institution.

To obtain an FHA insured mortgage, or lookup lender information, contact an FHA-approved lender:

Program Contact Information
To read more about this program, go to:
To contact a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Counseling agency, go to:
To contact the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), please use one of the following methods:

Visit us at:…

Write us at:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Federal Housing Administration
451 Seventh St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20410

Call us at:
1-800-CALL-FHA (1-800-225-5342) or via Federal Information Relay Service (w/TTY): 1-800-877-8339

Email us at:

Updated 01-22-13


Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program
Managing Agency U.S. Department of the Treasury
Program Description
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides tax counseling and assistance to taxpayers whose property has been damaged or lost in a Federally declared disaster area. The following are examples of the types of assistance available:

Assistance with filing claims for tax refunds
Tax information and assistance
Disaster kits containing tax forms and publications to help victims determine the amount of a casualty loss deduction for destroyed property
Information on ways to reconstruct destroyed financial records
Copies or transcripts of previously filed tax returns free of charge

General Program Requirements
Taxpayers have the option to deduct non-reimbursed casualty losses that occurred in a Federally declared disaster area in the year the disaster occurred or file an amended return and deduct the loss in the year immediately preceding the year the disaster occurred. Taxpayers must use Form 4684 to report a gain or deductible loss from a casualty.

The IRS may postpone tax deadlines to provide extra time to file returns and pay taxes. Interest may decrease for the extensive period of time to file tax returns and pay taxes.
Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application Process
This tax relief is automatic for affected taxpayers whose address of record is in the Federally declared disaster area. All other affected taxpayers must self identify for disaster relief by contacting the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.
Program Contact Information
For more information about the program, please visit:,,id=156138,00.html

Or contact your local Taxpayer Assistance Center:

For additional information contact:
IRS Tax Forms & Publications
1111 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20224


This has to do with the New Flood Zoning

Now available! FEMA has launched their new web application – the Online LOMC!

Visit to learn more about the new Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) application and to see the new live site. Applicants can use this new website to electronically request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) instead of applying for a LOMA using the MT-1 or MT-EZ paper forms. A LOMA is a letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land will not be inundated by the base flood. LOMA-eligible requests must be concerning properties on naturally high ground, which have not been elevated by fill.

In the near future, the Online LOMC application will be able to process all types of LOMC requests.

FEMA Online+LOMC+Fact+Sheet_December+2012

Posted 12-18-12



Posted 11-16-12


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce that Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage (FEMA P-805) is available online in both English and Spanish from the FEMA Library and will soon be available for order from the FEMA Warehouse.

The Link Is:

FEMA continues to lead the federal government’s effort to provide assistance and support to the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. An important part of this effort is getting the word out on the steps homeowners can take to safely return to their homes, clean up their homes, and reduce the risk of future flood damage.

Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage, Mitigation Ideas for Reducing Flood Loss, provides information and tools to:

Return to your home safely
Dry out your home
Clean mold, bacteria, and mildew
Obtain a building permit and select a contractor
Repair your flood-damaged house
Relocate and elevate your house
Pump out a flooded basement
Install interior and exterior floodwalls

FEMA P-805 also provides guidance on what homeowners can do to prevent landslide and slope stability problems and background information on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the advantages of flood insurance.

To view or download FEMA P-805 or other FEMA publications and products, or to sign up for updates on risk mitigation publications, news, and events, visit the FEMA Library.

Posted 11-23-12


National Housing Locator System (NHLS): Disaster Resource Locator
Managing Agency U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Program Description
The Disaster Resource Locator is a web-based program on the National Housing Locator System (NHLS) website that allows the public to search for HUD Regional Offices, HUD Field Offices, Public Housing Authorities, and other disaster related resources.

General Program Requirements
There are no restrictions on who may access the Disaster Resource Locator application on the National Housing Locator System (NHLS) website.

Your Next Steps
The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process
No application is needed to use the Disaster Resource Locator, just visit the NHLS website.

Program Contact Information
For more information, email the NHLS Team (Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time) at:


Pictures of our Comfort Station:

Toys that were donated – sorted by gender and age.

Donated Toddler Gift Bags labeled by age and gender

Handmade Cards by the Donors children are also in the bags!

Brand new donated men’s, women’s and children’s underwear and socks, tshirts. Diapers, Wipes, Formula

and children’s toys for all ages and gender


Our Career Clothing Closet will be set up this evening into tomorrow morning to help those that lost everything to re-new their career clothing wardrobes …..for men and women

You should see all of the brand new shoes, boots, ties we already have, plus additional clothing – and more is on it’s way to be donated also.

***************************************************** Update: Disaster Distress Resources & Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 sent this bulletin at 11/08/2012 05:41 PM EST
Disaster Distress Resources & Helpline – 1-800-985-5990

Tips for coping and other resources for people who may be feeling overwhelmed following natural disasters or other events. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, call 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 (TTY) for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) to speak with a crisis counselor 24/7, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Download the wallet card, “Having Trouble Coping After a Disaster? Talk with Us.”


Are You Prepared??
If you had only a few moments to evacuate your home and could not return for several days or even weeks

Posted 09-11-12


Dear CERTers,

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program at FEMA is pleased to announce a new library of 20 ready-to-use CERT exercises of all types, now available for download on the new Drills and Exercises page of the National CERT website at The new materials will help CERT programs conduct a variety of drills and exercises based on different scenarios.

Drills and exercises are great opportunities for CERT programs to engage their volunteer members and to practice, assess, and improve their program’s emergency response plans and on-the-ground operations. The scenarios, objectives, and events of each exercise can be used as is or modified to address the local CERT program’s training priorities.

The new web page includes materials for 4 drills, 6 tabletop exercises, 4 functional exercises, 4 full-scale exercises and 2 competitive events that were developed according to national guidance and principles outlined by the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). All drills and exercises were developed with common terminology and a systematic approach consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) framework to ensure that CERT programs are well-integrated with emergency management and incident response operations.

Planning exercises and drills does not have to be a daunting and time-consuming task for CERT programs. Review the drills and exercises on the National CERT website and start planning for your next CERT exercise today!

Please let CERT practitioners and advocates around the country know your thoughts about the new library of exercises or any aspect of CERT at the CERT Online Forum. Share your ideas, suggestions and comments at Thank you!


National CERT Program

Federal Emergency Management Agency


This is SOOOO! important for pets everywhere!!!

In Preparing for Disasters, Don’t Forget Fido

Release Date: May 17, 2012
Release Number: 4059-068

CHARLESTON, W. Va. — If you are one of the many West Virginians with a cat, dog, other pet or service animal, now is a good time to start planning for what to do with your furry or feathered friend in the event of a future disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States to develop these pet-preparedness guidelines.

Have a pet-supply kit ready, including:

Pet food for three days in an airtight, waterproof container and bowls;
Water for three days;
Pet medicines and first aid supplies;
Collar (with ID tags firmly secured), harness or sturdy leash;
Important documents such as registration, adoption papers, vaccination and medical records in a plastic bag or waterproof container;
Travel crate or other pet carrier;
Cat litter, litter box, paper towels, newspapers, plastic trash bags and cleaning supplies;
Photos of you and your pet together for identification purposes; and
Familiar items such as toys, treats and blankets.

The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you if you must evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be lost or injured. If evacuation is necessary, consider friends or family outside the area who can take in you and your pet.

Other options may include a pet-friendly hotel or motel. If your only evacuation option is a Red Cross or other publicly run shelter, be aware that not all shelters are equipped or designed to accept non-service animals. Consider boarding your animals at a kennel or veterinary hospital before going to a public shelter.

Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to evacuate your pet for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Talk with them about your evacuation plans and pet supply kit.

Consult your veterinarian and consider “microchipping” your pet. These permanent implants may be invaluable if you and your pets are separated.

After the disaster, don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells may have been changed by the disaster and your pet could become disoriented or lost.

For information on pet-friendly accommodations in your area and disaster planning, visit

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.

Last Modified: Thursday, 17-May-2012 11:37:19


Know Your Route

Whether it’s a building evacuation due to a fire or a city evacuation due to hurricane, know your routes. And most importantly, make sure your employees know your routes.

In the event of an emergency, stairwells, exits and/or roads may be blocked. It is important to have a plan and a backup plan in place so your employees know when to evacuate, where to go and what to take with them. For a complete guide to developing a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan, click here.

We asked our LinkedIn community, “What’s the #1 thing you would take with you in an evacuation?” We have 21 responses and counting!

Be on the lookout for next week’s Disaster Recovery tip from Agility. If you have additional questions or would like to talk with a recovery professional about your business continuity needs visit or call 866-364-9696

Posted 05-17-12


NOW AVAILABLE: FEMA P-811: Earthquake Publications for Businesses (QuakeSmart Toolkit)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is pleased to announce the release of FEMA P-811 CD: Earthquake Publications for Businesses (QuakeSmart Toolkit).

Thousands of earthquakes occur in the United States each year; most are too small to significantly affect businesses and communities. However, large and very damaging earthquakes have occurred in the past and could happen again at anytime. In general, many businesses have invested in emergency management and continuity of operations planning. However, most businesses have not conducted earthquake mitigation measures to protect their assets, staff, and business operations. During an earthquake, buildings—or their components or contents—can be collapsed, toppled, broken apart, tossed around, or rendered inoperable or unusable.

Therefore, as part of addressing all-hazards emergency management, it is critical for businesses to also incorporate actionable earthquake mitigation solutions into their planning and business decisions. By doing so, businesses protect the organization’s assets (people, property, operations); sustain the capability to provide goods and/or services to the community; maintain cash flow; preserve competitive advantage and reputation; and provide the ability to meet legal, regulatory, financial and contractual obligations.

This QuakeSmart Toolkit (FEMA P-811CD) provides business owners, managers, and employees with basic guidance and ready-to-use tools that can be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the user. The guidance and tools focus on the importance of earthquake mitigation and the simple things they can do to reduce the potential of earthquake damages, injuries, and financial losses at work…AND also at home and within their communities.

Thanks to our contributors and subject matter experts for their forthcoming support in developing this QuakeSmart Toolkit! It walks you through the following 3-step QuakeSmart process:

How to identify your risk
How to make a mitigation project plan
How to take action and implement the techniques for ensuring and enhancing business resilience from an earthquake

To immediately view or download the QuakeSmart Toolkit (FEMA P-811CD), visit

To order CD copies of the QuakeSmart Toolkit from the FEMA Publications Warehouse, call (800) 480-2520 or fax your request to (240) 699-0525.

To download other FEMA Earthquake guidance and materials, visit

Thank you for your continued interest and support. Please feel free to share this message with others.

Posted 01-04-12


Home Up High to Keep the Contents Dry

Hurricane Isabel is known to many North Carolinians, especially the residents on the state’s east coast, as the storm that flooded and severely damaged their homes in 2003. Several days after floodwaters receded, Pamlico County residents, Flossie Gibbs and her daughter Janie Parker, were able to return to their home in Mesic and discover that 3 feet of water had nearly destroyed all of their belongings. The home would have to be extensively repaired and elevated to prevent damage from future storms before they could move back in.

Since her community had a new ordinance that required her home to be elevated, Gibbs feared being unable to afford the additional cost. Immediately turning to her insurance agent for help, she learned that she could file a claim for assistance under her flood insurance policy to have her repetitively flooded home elevated.

Elevation, one of the most common retrofitting methods, is a mitigation technique that prevents or reduces flooding to a structure from future disasters. It is an alternative to demolishing a structure or relocating it to higher ground. Elevation is sometimes required for structures that are situated in low-lying areas to remain on the land after they have been flooded.

The claim Gibbs filed was for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. ICC coverage is available to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders in high-risk areas, also known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Under ICC, policyholders have four options to be compliant with their community’s ordinances: floodproofing (primarily for non-residential buildings), relocation, elevation, or demolition. If eligible for ICC, policyholders can receive up to $30,000 to help cover the costs to bring their home or business into compliance with the local community’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (FDPO). Although ICC funds may not be enough to complete the elevation project, they help the policyholder from having to cover the entire expense out-of-pocket.

In August 2011, Hurricane Irene devastated homes and residents along the eastern United States. North Carolinians suffered damage from storm surge, extreme winds, and torrential rain as the storm slowly moved northward. Gibbs’ neighborhood was flooded, but her home sustained only minor flood damage to the insulation and electrical wiring below the home. “It (Irene) flooded everything in this neighborhood but about seven houses,” said Parker.

Although Gibbs’ home suffered wind and rain damage, her appliances and furniture were not affected by flooding. This time, unlike 8 years ago, Gibbs and her daughter were able to live in their home after the floodwaters receded. “We are truly blessed compared to other people,” said Parker. “Before (following Isabel), we were out of our home for 3 years.”

For information on the NFIP or ICC, please visit or call toll-free 888-379-9531. For additional information on ICC claims, flood insurance policyholders should contact their insurance agents.


Kids Can Overcome Fears as They Help Prepare for a Future Disaster
Release Date: October 15, 2011
Release Number: 4025-070

HARRISBURG, Pa. — When kids go through a storm or tornado or other kind of disaster they may feel helpless, experts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) say. Even if they do not experience it themselves, seeing or hearing about what happened to a friend or classmate can be unsettling. Helping plan for their own family in case of a disaster can help kids overcome their fears.

Let children help put together a family disaster kit. Have them list what you will need to put in your kit in order to be prepared. Take them with you to shop for items you do not have in the house.

Here are the basic emergency supplies for a basic family disaster kit:

Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
Three-day supply of water – one gallon of water per person, per day.
Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
Flashlight and extra batteries.
First aid kit and manual.
Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
Matches and waterproof container.
Extra clothing.
Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
Photocopies of credit and identification cards.
Cash and coins.
Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
Other items to meet your unique family needs (pet supplies, for example).
If you live in a cold climate, think about how you will keep warm if you lose power. You will need warm clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:

Jacket or coat.
Long pants and long sleeve shirt.
Sturdy shoes.
Hat, mittens, and scarf.
Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person).
For more information and for activities for children in preparing and coping with a disaster go online at

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.

Last Modified: Monday, 17-Oct-2011 14:33:42


The Tip Sheet for How to Communicate During Disasters is below, or check out or

Consumers with questions about their particular mobile phone devices should contact their wireless provide or equipment manufacturer.


When disaster strikes, you want to be able to communicate by both receiving and distributing information to others. You may need to call 9-1-1 for assistance, locate friends or family, or let loved ones know that you are okay. During disasters, communications networks could be damaged, lose power, or become congested. This fact sheet provides two important sets of tips. The first will help you prepare your home and mobile devices for a disaster. The second may help you communicate more effectively during and immediately after a disaster.

Before a Disaster: How to Prepare Your Home and Mobile Device

1. Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your cell phone and in or near your home phone.
2. Keep charged batteries and car-phone chargers available for back-up power for your cell phone.
3. If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless phone in your home because if it will work even if you lose power.
4. Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
5. Program “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.
6. If you are evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your cell phone number.
7. If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.
8. Have a battery-powered radio or television available (with spare batteries).
9. Subscribe to text alert services from local or state governments to receive alerts in the event of a disaster. Parents should sign up for their school district emergency alert system.

During and After a Disaster: How to Reach Friends, Loved Ones & Emergency Services

1. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. Remember that you cannot currently text 9-1-1. If you are not experiencing an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. If your area offers 3-1-1 service or another information system, call that number for non-emergencies.
2. For non-emergency communications, use text messaging, e-mail, or social media instead of making voice calls on your cell phone to avoid tying up voice networks. Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion. You can also use social media to post your status to let family and friends know you are okay. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you can use resources such as the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well program (
3. Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
4. If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
5. Conserve your cell phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using that draw power, unless you need to use the phone.
6. If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car. Just be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage) and do not go to your car until any danger has passed. You can also listen to your car radio for important news alerts.
7. Tune into broadcast television and radio for important news alerts. If applicable, be sure that you know how to activate the closed captioning or video description on your television.
8. If you do not have a hands-free device in your car, stop driving or pull over to the side of the road before making a call. Do not text on a cell phone, talk, or “tweet” without a hands free device while driving.
9. Immediately following a disaster, resist using your mobile device to watch streaming videos, download music or videos, or play video games, all of which can add to network congestion. Limiting use of these services can help potentially life-saving emergency calls get through to 9-1-1.
10. Check regularly to find other helpful tips for preparing for disasters and other emergencies.

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.

Last Modified: Monday, 26-Sep-2011 10:47:01


Kids: An Important Part of a Family Disaster Plan
Release Date: September 25, 2011
Release Number: 4020-050

ALBANY, N.Y. – September is an exciting time for children getting into the swing of a new school year. September is also National Preparedness Month, a great opportunity for parents to involve kids in creating a family disaster plan in case of emergency.

By engaging children in preparing a family disaster plan, parents can establish in their kids a sense of control and confidence. Kids can be directly involved in putting together a family emergency preparedness kit and in making plans for the care of family pets in case of disaster.

Talking with kids about the dangers that families can face in an emergency — in a calm and age-appropriate way — is an important first step toward preparedness. Violent events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods or acts of terrorism are frightening to children and adults alike. Talking about such hazards with children can decrease their fear.

When children have a sense of being directly involved and doing something positive and constructive, everyone gains energy and confidence. There are three basic steps all families should follow to prepare for emergencies:

Put together a family emergency kit or “Go Bag”
Make a family disaster plan
Stay informed about potential emergencies and disaster plans in your community
Helping their parents assemble an emergency kit is an ideal activity for children. (visit Explain to kids that families like yours may need to survive on their own for a little while after an emergency. This means having food, water, and other supplies to last three days.

Recommended items to include in a family emergency kit or ‘Go Bag’:

One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
A three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered AM/FM radio and/or a NOAA Weather Radio receiver
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit and whistle
A dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
Wrench, pliers, matches and can opener
Local maps
Cellphones with chargers, inverter or solar charger
You may want to include additional items in your kit, including prescription medications, eyeglasses, infant formula and diapers, food, water and supplies for your pet or pets, as well as cash. For more information about assembling a family emergency kit, visit

Involve your kids in developing a family disaster plan

Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. If you have kids, the contact should be someone they know and trust.
Be sure every member of your family has a cell phone to reach the emergency contact or designated “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) number in your phone. Make sure to tell those you have so designated that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
Teach family members, including kids, how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
Once you have developed your plan, you and your children need to practice and maintain it.
Stay informed

Talk to your kids about what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified. Find out if your area will be served by emergency radio and TV broadcasts. Other emergency alert methods might include a special siren, a telephone call or a visit from emergency workers.

In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government and share that information with your children.

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where you and your family members spend time: work, daycare and school. You and your kids will be better prepared to safely reunite during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.

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.

Last Modified: Sunday, 25-Sep-2011 14:14:11



Release Date: September 19, 2011
Release Number: 4022-27

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Some Vermonters who were affected by Tropical Storm Irene may have not registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance because of misconceptions or lack of accurate information. Here are some examples.

MYTH: I thought my income was too high for me to qualify.

FACT: There is no income cutoff for FEMA aid. Anyone with disaster damage or loss in the declared counties may be eligible for help. FEMA grants may cover under insured or uninsured losses.

MYTH: My insurance agent told me I wouldn’t be able to get help from FEMA because I have flood insurance.

FACT: Everyone with flood insurance should register. FEMA may be able to help with uninsured costs.

MYTH: I don’t want FEMA assistance because it will affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.

FACT: FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and it is not reportable as taxable income.

MYTH: I’ve already cleaned up and made the repairs. Isn’t it too late?

FACT: You may be eligible for reimbursement of your clean up and repair expenses.

MYTH: I thought FEMA only gave loans. I don’t want a loan.

FACT: FEMA only provides grants that do not have to be repaid. FEMA’s individual assistance program covers expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs, such as medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other programs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans to renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes. Some applicants may receive an SBA loan application after registering with FEMA. No one is obligated to take out a loan. But if they don’t complete the application, they may not be considered for other federal grants.

MYTH: I’m a renter. I thought FEMA aid was only for homeowners to repair their homes.

FACT: FEMA may provide grants to help renters who lost personal property or were displaced.

MYTH: I heard there’s too much red tape and paperwork to register.

FACT: There is no paperwork to register with FEMA. You can do it with one phone call that takes a short while, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY can call 800-462-7585; or 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service. You can also register online at or via a web-enabled mobile device at The website helps reduce the number of forms to be filled out and shortens the time it takes to apply.

MYTH: I already received disaster assistance last year. I thought I couldn’t get it again this year.

FACT: If you had damage from another federally declared disaster you may register for new assistance.

MYTH: Isn’t FEMA broke? Other people need the help more than I do.

FACT: FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors with immediate needs. You will not be taking from others if you register for aid yourself.

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.

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-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to Applications can also be downloaded from or completed on-line at


Last Modified: Monday, 19-Sep-2011 16:47:59


Calling 2-1-1 or Registering With Other Agencies Does Not Register You for FEMA Aid

Release Date: September 10, 2011
Release Number: 4022-012

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermonters who experienced damage and losses because of Tropical Storm Irene and called Vermont’s 2-1-1 line must still register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive federal disaster assistance. Registering with voluntary agencies or with 2-1-1 does NOT register anyone with FEMA. The phone number to register with FEMA is 800-621-FEMA (3362).

“We have talked with many Vermonters who mistakenly believe they registered for federal assistance when they called 2-1-1,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Craig Gilbert, who leads FEMA’s mission in Vermont. “We want to make sure there is no confusion out there. We would hate to think there are people we can’t help because they haven’t registered.”

To register with FEMA, call 800-621-FEMA (3362), go online to or a web-enabled mobile device at Multilingual registration assistance is available. Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY can call 800-462-7585 directly; or 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service. Phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Individual assistance to homeowners and renters includes grants to cover expenses for temporary housing, home repair, and other serious disaster-related needs and expenses, such as replacement of personal property and medical, dental or transportation costs that are not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

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-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585; or call 800-621-3362 if using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS).

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to Applications can also be downloaded from or completed on-line at

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.

Last Modified: Monday, 12-Sep-2011 12:28:39






ANN 1-609-577-3555


Project “CONTACT” is our Disaster Response Project that specifically covers all 50-States plus the District of
Columbia. When there is a storm, disaster (man-made or natural), flooding, etc. we are ready to send needed
supplies directly to other ministries and organizations that are on site of the disaster – AT THIS TIME!

We are in the process of networking with Realtors, Real Estate Brokers and private landlords nation-wide that
when there is a disaster and they have available houses and apartments, we will be able to connect those in
need of housing with those in need of tenants.

In the future, Homeless To Independence Inc. will also be purchasing properties nation-wide that will house the
homeless in need on a constant basis AND also have availability to house individuals and families that have
lost their housing, whether it is a temporary or permanant situation. We will have networks in place for
donated furniture, clothing, food & hygiene product assistance, employment assistance and quite possibly
donated vehicles.

Quite frankly, just like you, I am heart broken when people have to put up in temporary shelters, especially the
children, elderly and veterans, they deserve better – we think we may have a better way in the future to help
everyone in need.

You are more than welcome to network and collaborate with Homeless To Independence Inc. – there is not one
non-federal organization out there that is responsible for everything – we, as a team working together, will be
the most efficient when we work together for the good of others.

Our Project “CONTACT” has been in full swing early this year due to the devastating storms and flooding.
Just below are pictures of just a small percentage of boxes that were shipped to:

1. LeLand, North Carolina
2. Adger, Alabama
3. Joplin, Missouri

As long as there is a need, we will continue to send supplies where-ever there is a need. We look forward to shipping out coats and winter outerwear this upcoming autumn season also to any and all areas that were hit with any disaster this year also.

Please feel free to contact me anytime: 1-609-577-3555 Ann Martin-Frey




Keeping Your Cool When Disaster Strikes

Release Date: August 8, 2011
Release Number: 4000-021

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Even a little planning can help folks keep their cool in a disaster.

One of the best time investments a family can make is planning for disasters and holding emergency drills, said officials with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Preparation is the key to helping people stay calm and clear-headed when disaster strikes,” said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. “We hope Arkansans who haven’t prepared an emergency plan will take a few minutes to do so. That time investment will pay big dividends.”

The Internet offers several resources, including and Both sites contain a wealth of information about preparedness and planning. With September designated as National Preparedness Month, a variety of emergency management agencies, including ADEM, will post related material on their websites.

“People can make basic preparations for emergencies in the time it takes to run a load of laundry,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. “We encourage Arkansans to take time now to create or review emergency plans. Their futures may depend on it.”

To get started on their own plans, families should establish places inside and outside the home for everyone to meet in case of an emergency. For instance, a family might designate the bedroom of a child or a family member with a disability to reassure them that their needs will be met. Exterior gathering spots might include the end of the driveway in a rural area or a nearby street corner in the city or suburbs.

From there, establish at least two escape routes and practice using them. Fires and debris can result in blocked hallways and stairwells, and rehearsing a back-up plan means family members are less likely to panic. And involve children in planning – they may see possibilities adults miss.

Remember to designate a contact person in case family members get separated. Each family member should memorize that person’s number or email. The advent of social media, such as Twitter, gives families new ways to connect in emergencies. Consider the most effective ways to use new technology.

Consider carefully what necessary items to collect in an evacuation. Increasingly, people keep important documents on computers, so back up data often on a flash drive and keep it handy. Other items include wallets, medications and items for infants. In the case of threatening weather, pack what’s needed and keep it in a safe place in the home or by the exit.

Visit or for news and information about this disaster. Follow FEMA tweets about the Arkansas disaster at Other online resources include, and

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.

Last Modified: Monday, 08-Aug-2011 16:37:37


Beware of Scam Artists

Release Date: June 17, 2011
Release Number: 1980-059

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
cautions Pettis County survivors of the recent tornado to be on the lookout for scam artists pretending to be
employed by FEMA or another government agency, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Historically, disasters bring out the very best in people and there are countless stories of neighbors helping
neighbors. Unfortunately, history also shows that disasters can bring out the worst in some people. Tornado
survivors should be vigilant in protecting their personal assets, particularly when living in such a stressful

“Consumers should keep in mind that a FEMA or SBA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someone’s
affiliation with these agencies,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. “The best way to verify
authorized FEMA or SBA personnel is by checking their laminated photo identification card, which they are
required to wear at all times.”

One common scheme involves con artists going door-to-door in neighborhoods of damaged homes, or phoning
victims, and soliciting personal information such as social security and bank account numbers. Consumers
should know that FEMA inspectors never require this information. A Social Security or bank account number
is requested during the first phone call to the FEMA registration line. On any follow-up calls, a FEMA
representative may ask for the last four digits of your Social Security number but never the whole number.

There have been reports, during earlier disasters, of scammers telling homeowners they need to pay $1,500 to
be put on a list to get their home repaired. Other reports have surfaced of persons pretending to be from the
SBA and offering to fill out disaster loan applications for a $50 fee. Survivors should remember that under no
circumstances are FEMA or SBA representatives allowed to accept money. FEMA staff registers all applicants
without charge and experts are located at Disaster Recovery Centers to assist storm survivors with their
application for disaster aid. Also, there is never a charge to be placed on a “FEMA List” or to have SBA
representatives assist applicants with their disaster loan application.

Other points to keep in mind to avoid becoming a scam victim:
•Check on a contractor’s licensing status with local or State licensing agencies. Check with the local Better
Business Bureau, homebuilders association or trade council to see if the contracting firm has any unanswered
complaints against it;
•Be suspicious of anyone who offers to increase the amount of your disaster damage assessment;
•Ask for proof of insurance. If a contractor is uninsured, you may be liable for accidents on your property. Make
sure the contractor has both disability and worker’s compensation insurance;
•Ask for a written estimate and check to make sure it includes all work you expect to have done, as well as
taxes and other fees. Keep in mind that some contractors charge for an estimate;
•Once you decide to use a particular contractor, ask for a written contract that includes all tasks to be
performed as well as associated costs, a timeline and payment schedule, and who is responsible for necessary
permits and licenses. Never sign a blank contract;
•Do not give anyone an advance cash payment. Pay by check in order to keep a record and avoid double
•Legitimate contractors normally do not require more than one-third of the total charges as a down payment;
•Ask for a written guarantee that states what is covered, who is responsible and how long the guarantee is
valid; and
•If you feel uncomfortable about a contract and have already signed it, cancel it quickly. You may cancel some
contracts within three business days after signing. Be sure to follow the contract cancellation clause

If you think you have been victimized by a scam or suspect illegal activity, please report it to the Missouri State
Attorney General’s office at 1-573-751-3321.

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.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-
term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes,
and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or
disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or
other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

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 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss who use a TTY call 1-800-462-
7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 1-800-621-3362.

Last Modified: Friday, 17-Jun-2011 13:40:30




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