Federal Flood Assistance Approved

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The Lansing Fire Department had more than 100 people call in with flood damage reports on their homes after heavy rains in late May. Thursday President Bush granted Gov. Granholm's request that 19 counties be designated disaster areas.

With the designation comes several options for homeowners who have suffered flood damage, including federal grants and low-interest loans.

Local emergency officials were hopeful the assistance would come through, but weren't sure. Last year a Marquette dam broke, flooding many parts of the city. That Upper Peninsula incident did not qualify.

FEMA offices will be open starting July 2 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to see if you are eligible.

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What is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA?

  • FEMA is an independent federal agency with more than 2,600 full time employees.

  • FEMA also has nearly 4,000 standby disaster assistance employees who are available to help out after disasters.

  • Often FEMA works in partnership with other organizations that are part of the nation's emergency management system. These partners include state and local emergency management agencies, 27 federal agencies and American Red Cross.

  • FEMA works on a life cycle of disasters:
    • Prepare for emergencies and disasters.
    • Respond to the events when they occur
    • Recover, help people and institutions recover from the disasters
    • Mitigate the effects of the events
    • Reduce the risk of loss
    • Prevent disasters, such as fires from occurring

  • FEMA provides individual assistance programs, and public assistance programs.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has advice for those filing a flood insurance claim faster and easier

  • As soon as possible, call your insurance company or agent to report damage.

  • If possible, photograph the outside of the premises, showing the evidence of flooding and the exterior damage.

  • If possible, photograph the interior, showing your damaged belongings and the marks indicating the height of the floodwaters

  • Separate the damaged from the undamaged possessions for the adjuster's examination.

  • When the adjuster arrives, let him or her know if you need an advance or partial payment for your loss.

  • Throw away damaged property that presents a health hazard or could hamper cleanup. If items have been thrown away, describe them to the adjuster for documentation.

  • Compile a room-by-room inventory of damaged or missing items. If possible, try to locate receipts or proofs of purchase

  • Submit your signed and sworn Proof of Loss form within 60 days following the loss.

Source: www.fema.gov (The Federal Emergency Management Agency Web Site) contributed to this report.