Applying for federal aid and preventing further flood damage - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Applying for federal aid and preventing further flood damage

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – If your home sustained any water damage during the flooding disaster, you are encouraged by state and local leaders to call FEMA right away to get the ball rolling in requesting federal aid.

If you go the FEMA’s disaster assistance website, you will be prompted to type your address into the search bar. If you live in one of the affected South Carolina counties that has been declared a disaster, it will show a blue headline that states your area has been declared a “Severe Storms and Flooding” disaster and you are eligible for Individual Assistance. Then it will prompt you to click “Find Assistance” near the bottom of the page. You will then answer a questionnaire and get a list of assistance you could apply for based on your answers

It is also recommended that you call FEMA at 800-621-3362 to make sure you are on the federal list in hopes of receiving aid. Here is a checklist of information you should have prepared before calling FEMA:

  • Social Security Number
  • Insurance Information (Know the types of insurance you have, whether that’s homeowners, flood, auto, mobile home, etc.)
  • Damage information (Describe the damage caused by the disaster and include the type of disaster, type of dwelling, or vehicle.)
  • Financial information (Provide your family’s total annual household income, before taxes, at the time of the disaster.)
  • Contact information (Provide the address and phone number where the damage happened along with the address and phone number where you can be reached.)
  • Direct deposit information

Federal aid takes time to be made available. And if you do not have flood insurance, it can be daunting to try and prioritize what costly repairs need to be made first. Randy Hann with Contract Exteriors says there are two things you should not put off. First, make sure you get anything wet out of the house right away. That would include carpet, drywall, insulation, and any furniture. If you do not remove sections of wet, buckling walls, that water can continue to wick up the walls destroying even more.

Doing this now will help prevent further water damage and future mold issues. Hann says that the mold issues will escalate next spring and summer when high humidity kicks back in. So getting anything wet out of the home now is critical.

Also Hann says you need to get an electrician into the home to determine if the water damaged any electrical wiring or outlets. Those are repairs that need to be done right away to protect the safety of you, your family, and your home.

Once those two things are done, then you can start pacing out the cosmetic work that might need to be done to fix your home.

Hann also says it is very important to make sure you are documenting all the damage. You will want this proof as you negotiate with your insurance company and apply for FEMA aid.

“Everyone pretty much has a smart phone today,” says Hann. “And they have a camera that can take video of the damage. Get it documented so they can really see it.

And then start contacting your insurance company and getting all of that water damage out of the property as quickly as possible.”

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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