OREGON COUNTY -- Oregon County Emergency Preparedness Director Eric King said last week he had received news from the state that families, individuals and businesses in Missouri that have suffered severe storms and flooding in March have until June 26 to register for federal assistance.
"Oregon County was declared one of the 35 counties in the state that qualifies for this assistance," King said.
He said anyone that has failed to register should call the FEMA Helpline number at 1-800-621-3362 or register online at www.fema.gov.
King said the deadline to submit a loan application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is also June 26. "SBA loan applications are a key part of the FEMA process. If you are a homeowner or renter and SBA determines you cannot afford a loan, you may be referred for eligible assistance," he said.
King said to date FEMA has approved more than $12.68 million in aid to disaster victims while the SBA has approved $8 million in disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and nonprofit organizations.
King also reminds residents of Oregon County that homeowners, renters and businesses need to be prepared before an emergency strikes.
"Every threat, from wind storms, floods, to power outages reminds us to be proactive when it comes to planning strategies to survive a disaster and recover quickly. The catastrophic events of the last several months in Oregon County alone, demonstrates the need for preparedness at the individual level to diminish the risk of life and property," King said.
King gave some tips for disaster preparedness for home owners and businesses.
* A solid emergency response plan: Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy. Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees.
* Disaster preparedness: Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage, at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is and what is not covered.
* Making copies of important records: It's a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives and store that information at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents and CDs should be stored in fire-proof safe deposit boxes offsite.
* Protection of windows, doors and roofing: Install impact-resistant window and door systems. Hire a professional to evaluate your roof to make sure it can weather a major wind storm.
* A disaster preparedness kit: The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged, canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash and a disposable camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.
King said not to despair if you receive a letter from FEMA stating you have been denied for disaster assistance. "It may be that FEMA cannot complete the assistance evaluation process until more information has been supplied," he said.
He said an applicant may be denied assistance for various reasons including insufficient storm-related damage or adequate insurance coverage. "Remember the first letter may not be the last word," King said.