Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security:
INDIANAPOLIS – Local, state and federal officials will expand joint preliminary damage assessments to three additional counties today – Huntington, Grant and Tippecanoe.
Of the four initial counties being assessed – Howard, Madison, Tipton and Wabash counties – evaluations of Madison and Wabash have been completed. Howard and Tipton will be completed today.
Homes and businesses are being assessed to evaluate damage caused by severe weather and flooding that began April 17.
Teams will include representatives from those counties, Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Based on citizen reports and damage gathered by local and state emergency management professionals, these teams are focusing on the seven counties.
These damage assessments are a key part of the multi-step process to determine eligibility to pursue federal assistance. See below for additional information about the federal disaster declaration process.
The federal disaster declaration process for individual assistance:
An emergency or disaster incident occurs.
Local emergency and public safety personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and other private groups provide emergency life-saving and -sustaining activities, meet immediate human needs, and restore essential services vital to public health and safety.
A local disaster or emergency is declared.
Preliminary damage and impact information is reported to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) by citizens and local emergency management entities.
IDHS conducts preliminary assessments allowing officials to determine if there is a possibility of federal assistance. If the number of businesses and homes is significant enough to officially request joint preliminary damage assessments then federal officials visit the state and finalize assessments with state and local officials.
INDIANA IS CURRENTLY AT THIS STEP: Personnel from FEMA and the U.S. SBA are deployed and have been doing assessments the past two days. They have been joined by state and local representatives to conduct damage assessments.
IDHS provides the findings of the joint damage assessments to the Governor’s Office.
- If eligibility requirements have been met, the Governor will officially request federal assistance to FEMA or the SBA.
- FEMA or SBA reviews the request and findings of the joint damage assessments and a determination of disaster or emergency declaration is then made
- Federal assistance is granted or denied.
How to report damage
Hoosiers who sustained damage caused by severe weather and flooding that began April 17 can report online at www.in.gov/dhs. In the middle of the page under “Featured Topics,” click on “Report Damage from Severe Storms and Flooding - Starting April 17 and continuing.”
For questions, contact your county emergency management agency. Local agency’s contact information is available by accessing: http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/Sanitized_Compact_Directory.pdf.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS
Individuals without Internet access are encouraged to contact a friend, family member or neighbor for assistance. Web access is also available at many libraries, religious institutions, community centers or other public facilities. If none of those options are available, individuals may also contact their county emergency management agency to report damage.
THIS REPORT IS NOT AN APPLICATION FOR ANY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
This is NOT an application for a grant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Information will be used to help local emergency management agencies and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security preliminarily assess damage to determine if federal assistance can be pursued.
All Hoosiers are advised to stay tuned to local radio and television weather broadcasts or listen to an all hazards alert radio for updated warnings and safety information related to potential weather threats.