WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management (DEM) published the following detailed steps and information yesterday, November 22nd, for people who have suffered property damaging resulting from last week’s flooding and how they can apply for potential state and/or federal disaster assistance.
In short, this is a multi-step process for DEM that begins with property owners contacting DEM to provide reports of damage. These will be compiled by DEM and submitted, along with door-to-door detailed assessments, to state and federal agencies to provide proof of the extent and types of need.
An important step in Whatcom County’s recovery from the recent flood-related natural disaster is gaining state and federal assistance, including from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Several steps are required to be considered for financial support.
The first step to access any potential state or federal disaster assistance is essential and involves flood-impacted members of the public.
1. Those with ANY flood-damaged property are requested to report their damages to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management (DEM) at 360-788-5311. Take photographs and document all damage and be prepared to provide details of your circumstances. Get/keep receipts for all flood-related materials and repair services. Report your damage as soon as possible to 360-788-5311. This process is the same for everyone regardless of your insurance status.
2. Whatcom County compiles and submits the reports daily to the Washington State Emergency Management Division. This allows Washington state to assess overall potential losses in the recovery phase of emergency response.
3. County, state and federal inspectors will do a home to home and business to business damage assessment to work towards the threshold defined by the Federal Government.
4. Washington state compiles all reports from the 39 counties and submits a request to the President, through FEMA.
5. The more individual cases that are reported, the more likely Whatcom County is to meet the threshold for state and federal assistance. There are many steps in the process, and focusing on the first step is key.
Flood impacted residents of Whatcom County should file insurance claims as soon as possible on flood-damaged vehicles, homes and property. There are limits to what FEMA will cover, and federal funding is unlikely to cover all damages or “make whole” property loss.
Locally, additional support may be available from the Resilience Fund established at Whatcom Community Foundation, the American Red Cross, and resources found here. Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon, and Salvation Army, are also responding and providing support to the community with “mucking out” homes, feeding, and sheltering.
For more information on flood-related information, visit Whatcom County’s website.