FEMA Helpline to Assist Okla. Disaster Applicants Following Wildfires

February 14, 2006

Even though federal and state Disaster recovery Centers are now closed in Oklahoma, applicants for disaster assistance for damages and losses caused by wildfires can get valuable information and updated information about their status by using the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toll-free Helpline.

Anyone with questions or needing more information can call the Helpline daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a hearing or speech impairment can call (TTY) 800-462-7585.

Applicants who registered online at www.fema.gov are able to access their file to get and update information. Those who registered by phone can also access their file online if they have an e-mail address and set up an account.

“The pressing need for accurate and immediate information about federal and state disaster assistance, or for the status of an application for help, is vital to every person who suffered losses from wildfires,” Federal Coordinating Officer Philip Parr said. “The Helpline number may not be able to answer every question, but it can refer the caller to other agencies or organizations that can.”

The Helpline number is also the number to use to register for disaster assistance. Specialists are available to answer questions for both those who have registered, or to take registration information from first-time callers.

“We want everyone affected by the wildfires and are in need of assistance to know that even though the Disaster Recovery Centers have closed, they still are able to get the one-to-one help they need by using the Helpline,” State Coordinating Officer Kathleen Shingledecker said. “We’re here to help those affected for as long as they have need of our help.”

Personnel at the Helpline numbers are trained specialists who will help find the information needed without delay. It is an important resource for all applicants and can provide many services, including registering for disaster assistance, checking the status of an application, updating applicant information (including changes in income, telephone number and address) and referring any special needs to the appropriate recovery agencies.

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