The last thing most families want to think about is disaster relief. Who would want to imagine a natural disaster
striking their home? Hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes are only a few of the disasters that can wreak havoc
on our communities.
"FEMA gives support to the state, the local government and the voluntary agencies," FEMA spokesman Brad
Craine said. "We come to the state at the state's request."
Anyone living in a federally designated disaster area is eligible to apply for federal assistance. A
disaster area "has to come from presidential designation," Craine said.
If your home has been destroyed, you can apply to FEMA for housing assistance. FEMA's
Disaster Assistance Process page
explains the process and offers a phone number for more information.
But don't wait until it is too late to protect your home. If your area is threatened by a tropical storm
or hurricane, see the Plan for Emergencies page to learn how to prevent or minimize damage to your home.
You can visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
Storm Watch for weather advisories.
Check satellite images of storms brewing
in the eastern United States and advisories in the eastern Pacific.
For people who live in areas that have grappled with earthquakes, flooding, high winds or wild fires in
the past, FEMA's mitigation section can help you prepare your home
should any of these disasters strike again.
Mitigation can also help people rebuild their damaged home in a safer way, Craine said. For example,
people whose homes have been flooded once can go to FEMA's Flood Hazard Mapping
to determine if their homes are at risk for flooding again. When these same people rebuild or remodel,
they may choose to raise their house several feet based on the information they receive from FEMA,
Craine said. Flood maps may be ordered online.
If your area is threatened by tornadoes, learn how to install a protective "safe room" in your home in
FEMA's Safe Rooms section.
At Project Impact, sponsored by FEMA and the ESRI software company, citizens can create their own
hazard map to determine what type of disaster could
affect their community.
There are various national, non-government disaster relief resources on the Web. DisasterCenter.com offers a list of major groups that can help. You'll find links to
organizations, such as the American Red Cross,
that provide disaster relief.
Interested in volunteering to help disaster victims? See
Volunteer Solutions for
a list of opportunities.