DCN Web Site Linking Builders, Vendors, Residents Following Wilma

November 29, 2005

The Disaster Contractors Network (DCN) Web site is available to connect contractors and vendors offering services in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma with homeowners and business owners seeking repairs, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) announced.

The DCN Web site is www.dcnonline.org. It provides a point of entry to the DCN, a virtual organization of construction-related associations, state and federal emergency management organizations and regulatory agencies. The purpose of DCN is to foster communication and resource matching among government; the construction community; and home and business owners before, during and after natural disasters. The site also offers online courses for contractors. The DCN’s Web site is funded by the state of Florida and staffed by FEMA.

The core of the DCN site is the Virtual Emergency Operations Center. To reach the VEOC, click on the map of Florida. Then click the green VEOC icon near the top of the screen. The following options will be available:

Critical Needs allows homeowners, business owners and contractors to list items and resources that they need to recover from the storm. This section may contain requests for materials, requests for labor, or requests for services. For example, a construction company might be in need of roofers, a homeowner might need drywall work done on his or her home, or a general contractor might need lumber.

Resources let homeowners, business owners and contractors look for contractors specializing in certain services, including architects, engineers, and general contractors. Contractors can be searched based on category, keyword, or geographic location.

Situation Reports contains links to reports filled with vital Wilma-related information, such as weather summaries, current power outages, health advisories, damage reports, and locations of Disaster Recovery Centers.

Homeowner Information contains documents that might be of particular importance to homeowners, including tips for protecting one’s home and the steps to take after a disaster has occurred.

Hot Topics links to press releases, fact sheets, and newspaper articles of interest to homeowners and contractors alike.

License Check allows homeowners and contractors to check if a contractor’s license is valid and current. This tool is accessed via the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Online Services Web site. It is against Florida law for any contractor not properly licensed in Florida to offer services to the public.

Licensing and Permitting Information contains up-to-date information about permitting and licensing in each Florida county. Users can link to the Web sites of individual counties, plus find phone numbers to call in order to secure permits and licensing.

Links allows users to visit other Web sites, including those of FEMA, the state of Florida, the Florida Home Builders Association, and the American Red Cross.

By accessing the DCN Web site, homeowners and contractors will have access to all of the above – and more.

Contractors will be able to post their firms as available resources, manage their information, update their records, archive their resource availability during busy times when they are no longer available, and add their firms to future disasters without repeating the registration process. Homeowners and business owners will be able to post their critical needs in rebuilding after Wilma, update their records, and archive their critical needs when they have been filled.

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