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FEMA remains active past assistance application deadline


Last updated 1/31/2008 at Noon

Victims of San Diego County’s October fires had until January 9 to file an application with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, but FEMA will still maintain a presence despite the passage of the deadline.

“The helpline is still up and running,” said FEMA public information officer John Treanor.

In extreme cases the January 9 deadline to apply for assistance may be extended. “The policy for people who miss the deadline is basically they have to have an awfully good reason,” Treanor said. “It is possible to file an appeal.”

Those who filed prior to January 9 may amend their filing after the deadline to account for additional damage discovered, new damage from mud and debris flows or wildfire-related flooding, or an insurance settlement which is more or less than expected.

FEMA will also process changes in contact information.

The FEMA helpline number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), and phone lines are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

FEMA will also stay active in promoting flood insurance. “We’re just really pushing that people get started on that,” Treanor said.

Flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period before the policy takes effect. “They’ve got to get on it right away,” Treanor said.

Flood insurance covers overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, and mudflows. Landslides, slope failures, and saturated soil moving down a slope are not covered by flood insurance.

A Presidential declaration of disaster is not needed to collect on a flood insurance policy.

“It’s something that we’re always concerned about,” Treanor said. “People don’t think about it often during the good times.”

Treanor noted that FEMA is involved in disaster preparation as well as disaster response. “It’s primarily preparedness,” he said.


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