1. FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA): I will be meeting with FEMA this afternoon to begin this kickoff process. Please note that at this time we have a Presidential Declaration that allows FEMA to provide federal assets (water, ice, etc.) but we have NOT been approved for Individual Assistance (IA) or Public Assistance (PA). We must complete the statewide PDA and show that the state meets the required thresholds before those funding avenues would be made available. We will be submitting damages to primary residences by numbers of classification (destroyed, major damage, minor damage, affected) and any general comments on damages reported. Please note that IF IA becomes available damage to other structures (not the primary residence) are not usually eligible for federal assistance. If you know of structural damages, please shoot me an e-mail so that we can make sure we have complete and accurate records of the damage we suffered.
2. As many of you will be fielding calls, talking with neighbors, etc. I want to share with you as much factual information as possible regarding how this process works. Interestingly enough, many of the newer emergency managers to the state are dealing with a presidentially-declared disaster for the first time as well and are struggling to understand and convey to their residents the LONG and ever evolving recovery process. Releasing emergency/disaster related information is always a difficult task because the audience we are trying to access may be hindered by the disaster itself and in most cases they are in an extremely agitated state and find it difficult to understand the information that is being disseminated. Dean Meadows, EMA from Wyoming County addressed this recently to the state’s EMA Directors …
“I would just like to give you a quick lesson in how this FEMA process works. I listen to the conference call and hear the trepidation in some of the EMs who have not dealt in this process very often. If you're an EM that has FEMA experience, you could probably stop reading now and move on. If you're newer to this process, here's a synopsis for you:
Your citizens call 1-800-621-FEMA for assistance. The call taker for FEMA looks down his list of disasters and does not see one for WV Storm. The call taker then tells the caller to call their local emergency manager to report their damage/loss. The call taker doesn't ask what kind of damage or anything, he just knows they’re not on his list and he sends them to you. Now, you may think, what's FEMA trying to do to me? Why are they putting these people off on me? But the call taker thinks he's doing you a favor. He knows you need numbers to get a disaster declaration, so he gives you some callers. The citizen doesn't realize any of this. All he knows is that he's has a loss and he wants help. So he calls you and says that FEMA told him to call. Now, whether you like it or not, that puts the onus on you. You have to explain to the citizen that their losses are not covered under the Stafford Act and FEMA will not reimburse. It won't make you popular, but it's your responsibility! Because the beginning and ending of every disaster is local.
I hope this helps you understand the process a little better. Please, if you're newer to the game and need any kind of help whatsoever, call any of the EMs who have been there and they will gladly help you. FEMA and the State have great reps, but the local managers are the ones who have experienced what you’re dealing with.
Please understand that people reporting their damages to their insurance agent, or calling into us during the damage assessment process does not guarantee them any assistance from FEMA. It also does not mean that IF Individual Assistance is awarded that they are automatically registered because they shared with us their damages. The recovery process is not fast and as our citizens try to clean-up and repair their homes, they will find this process confusing because of the many steps we have to go through in order to even request federal assistance.
3. As a reminder, FEMA does NOT reimburse for costs associated with lost food or generators (including fuel). These costs may be covered under a homeowner or renter’s insurance policy and the affected residents should check with their agents. Residents who receive food stamps or SNAP benefits may apply at their local DHHR office to receive reimbursement of lost food through the food stamp program. The deadline for those on assistance to apply with WVDHHR is July 30th. VOAD continues to monitor immediate emergency food needs.
4. Storm-Related Tree Debris Removal:
Bridgeport Public works will be picking up storm-related tree limbs and brush - one to 16 inches in diameter, and cut in a manageable length for pick up – until close of business this Friday, July 13. THIS DEADLINE WILL NOT BE EXTENDED! Items can be left at the curb for pick-up. Residents having any debris larger than the mentioned size should contact a commercial contractor or the take the debris to the Clarksburg Compost Center, which is free of charge. Please call 304.842.8206 if you have any questions.
5. BURNING BAN: A reminder … Due to scarce water supplies and the ongoing emergency response efforts related to the recent storms, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin authorized a burning ban, continuing throughout the state of emergency.
WV still has 17,349 households without power almost 2-weeks into this event!! State and federal resources are being used to address needs until services are able to be restored. This has put a strain on our infrastructure, resources, responders and citizens … but NOW is the time to take action and begin preparing for the next emergency/disaster. Have YOU re-stocked your 72+-hour kit? How prepared are you and your family for the next event? Ready.gov has some excellent resources and tips for disaster preparedness. Remember that our greatest resource is our PEOPLE and your personal preparedness will directly relate to your ability (or willingness) to respond to the City and fulfill your commitments during times of disaster. If I can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Shaunda Y. Rauch, Director
Emergency Services Department
City of Bridgeport … “Preparedness Lives Here”
P.O. Box 1310
515 West Main Street
Bridgeport, WV 26330
(304) 842-8200 x252
(304) 695-8043 Mobile
(304) 304-842-8201 Fax