Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2011

Union County Advises Residents of FEMA Assistance Process

While a Federal Disaster Declaration has not been issued from FEMA,
County proactively advises residents of process

 

Union County, NJ – As Union County begins to recover from the damage left by Hurricane Irene, many residents are asking how they can request and receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA.)

In order for a State, County, Township or resident to receive funding from FEMA, a Federal Disaster Declaration must be issued from FEMA. A Federal Disaster Declaration can only be declared once the Governor submits an official disaster request to FEMA; this request must include the estimated cost of the damages.

Providing an accurate Statewide report to FEMA takes several days as crews of engineers must assess structural damage to homes, bridges, dams, highways and other structures. Public utility companies must document any damage to poles, wires and substations. In addition, Government agencies must calculate the actual costs of providing additional public safety services during the preparation, response and recovery efforts caused by Irene.

“Sunday morning I visited the towns that were hit hardest by the Hurricane.  Hurricane Irene has definitely left its mark on Union County residents. Many are still without power, fallen trees have damaged countless properties and many had to evacuate their homes due to severe flooding.” stated Freeholder Chairman Deborah Scanlon. “We ask that that those greatly affected be patient and follow the steps outlined by our Emergency Management personnel.”

As it will take several days to accurately assess the damage caused by the Irene, Union County officials are asking residents to take the following steps:

* Do not touch any utility wires.

* Before cleaning up damage caused by Irene please take photos or videos of any damage caused by the hurricane. If you have already started to clean up the damage please document your repairs to the best of you ability. Save all receipts, quotes, estimates, etc. of any work done; this documentation may be needed in the future by FEMA to file potential claims.

Over the next several days, local officials will be preparing Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) reports to document the damage done in each municipality. If you have sustained significant damage to your home please contact your local Office of Emergency Management. The Office of Emergency will include your address and description of the damage sustained in their municipal Assessment report.

All municipal reports will be complied with the necessary documents and forwarded to the County Office of Emergency Management for review; a Sergeant from State Police Office of Emergency Management has been assigned to the County OEM for assistance. Please note: Some municipal OEMs are still actively responding to public safety emergencies caused by Irene. Public safety emergencies will take priority to damage assessment.

The County will submit a Countywide Preliminary Damage Assessment to the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management. State Police OEM will review all 21 County Assessments and submit a single Preliminary Assessment to the Governor. The Governor will submit a single Statewide Preliminary Assessment to the Federal Emergency Management Administration for consideration.

After reviewing the New Jersey State Preliminary Damage Assessment report, FEMA will decide if a Federal Disaster Declaration is warranted. For more information on this process please go to http://www.fema.gov/media/fact_sheets/declaration_process.shtm.

If a Federal Disaster is declared for the State of New Jersey and Union County, FEMA will deploy several damage assessment experts throughout the State to meet with individual residents to review detailed information of the damage caused by Irene.

Information about federal disaster declarations and public assistance will be broadcast directly to residents through the Union County First Alert System. Please register at ucfirstalert.com to have disaster and other emergency information sent directly to your email or smartphone. Information will also be posted on the official Union County website at ucnj.org.

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For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastian D’Elia, Communications Director for the County of Union, or a designee listed at the top of this press release.   Please join the County of Union online at www.ucnj.org, on Facebook at www.ucnj.org/facebook, and on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/countyofunionnj.

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