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DeKalb County residents can register for FEMA aid

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County was declared a federal disaster area in the wake of last month’s flooding, but few county residents have registered to take advantage of available federal aid, a county official said Wednesday.

Only 10 county residents have contacted emergency management authorities since the county was declared a federal disaster area Friday, said Dennis Miller, coordinator of the county Emergency Services Disaster Agency. Miller took state and federal representatives on a tour of the county several days ago.

“We did a hard day of drive-through and we talked to several people; that’s what got the initial declaration,” Miller said. “They did a damage assessment on several different parts of DeKalb and Sycamore. It was enough to push us over.”

Individual property owners must register directly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Miller said. However, county officials are seeking any damage information about public buildings, parks or other public property from local governments, he said.

People whose homes were damaged can register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362, online at DisasterAssistance.gov or with a mobile device at m.fema.gov. A TTY line is available at 800-462-7585.

The registration process is simple – applicants will be asked about their income, homeowner’s insurance, housing needs and the damage to their home, said Richard Gifford of FEMA’s public affairs division.

Registrants then receive an application number and will be contacted by an inspector who will ask to view the damage. Those who qualify for aid can receive a check three to five days later, Gifford said.

“What we say to everybody is don’t prejudge yourself,” Gifford said. “Let FEMA come out and see if you qualify or not.”

The government aid will not cover any damages otherwise covered by insurance, Gifford said. However, common flood issues such as basement flooding that ruins a furnace, any kind of first-floor flooding, or other problems commonly are covered.

“To you it might not seem like a lot of damage, but we’ve had cases where the basement floods out and they don’t put in a claim, but then in the wintertime your foundation cracks because of water,” he said.  “So that’s why we encourage everybody to register.”

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