What is the Deadline to Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance

The deadline to register for Federal Assistance programs is Monday, November 23rd, 2020. All individuals impacted by the SQF Complex Fire are encouraged to register before the deadline, even if you are unsure of your needs or interest in these programs; failure to register before the deadline may make you ineligible for future services. 

 

How do I access FEMA Disaster Assistance?

The first step to accessing your FEMA benefits is to apply. You can apply three ways:

  1. Calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.

  2. Download the FEMA app on your smartphone or tablet

  3. Apply online at www.disasterassistance.gov

 

What information will I need to apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance?

  • Social Security Number

  • Insurance Policy information 

  • Address of the damaged primary dwelling

  • A description of disaster-caused damage and losses

  • Current mailing address and current telephone number

  • Total household annual income

  • Routing and account number of your checking or savings account (for direct transfer to your bank account)

 

When can I return to my property and what will I need to go through any check point?

When Mandatory Evacuation for your area has been downgraded to an evacuation warning OR you are given the "all - clear", Tulare County will send out notifications to alert you to this. 

This means that residents may return to their homes AFTER showing proof of residency to posted law enforcement. Only property owners and residents are permitted to return at this time. Returning residents MUST show proof of residency to posted law enforcement to gain access. 

Proper documentation must include the resident name and residency address within the impacted area. Examples include a driver's license with the residency address, utility bill that includes resident name and residency address or address documentation from the U.S. Post Office for those that utilize a post office box. 

 

My property suffered damages from the fire. Can I get my property value re-assessed?  

If you own property such as a cabin that has suffered at least $10,000 in damage caused by the SQF Complex Fire in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks and the Springville area, you may be eligible to receive property tax relief. 

Click Here to download an Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged or Destroyed by Misfortune of Calamity. Applications must be filled with the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity.

 

My home has been damaged or lost. What insurance resources are available?

Wildfire evacuees may be eligible for cost reimbursement from their insurance company. Click here for more information.

Click here for insurance resource to help recent wildfire victims.

More detailed information can also be found on the State of California, Department of Insurance website. Click here to visit their website.

The State of California, Department of Insurance has a hotline set up: (800) 927-4357. Assistance is available in multiple languages. 

 

I never expected to be in this situation and suddenly I have anxiety. How can I protect my emotional well-being?

After a wildfire, you may feel sad, mad, guilty, or numb. These are all normal reactions to stress. Talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor if you need help coping. There are supportive and knowledgeable staff to support you at the Tulare County Warm Line 1-877-306-2413 you can also Tulare County Mental Health Info Line at 1-800-320-1616. You may also want to contact your general physician.

 

What can I expect on the roads?

Please drive more slowly than normal.

Be alert for broken traffic lights and missing street signs.

Watch out for debris on the road.

 

What dangers can I expect in my damaged home? 

Be careful around damaged buildings or structures. Wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it easier to avoid hazards, especially if the electricity is off and you have no lights. 

 

How can I clean up my property safely?

Wear the proper safety equipment, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and avoid electrical hazards. Downed power lines expose workers to electric shock hazards, including:

  • Electrical currents that flow through the ground and extend several feet (ground gradient)

  • Contact with downed power lines that are still energized

  • Overhead power lines that fall onto and energize materials on the fire ground

  • Smoke that becomes charged and conducts electrical current

  • Water on or near energized power lines or equipment

If you are working on or near power lines, the following steps may save your life:

  • Never handle a downed power line

  • Assume all power lines are energized and call the power provider to de-energize the line(s). 

  • Ground power lines on load and supply sides of the work area. Grounding protects from feedback electrical energy when a secondary power source, such as a portable generator is turned on

  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as Nomex® clothing compliant with NFPA standard 1500, rubber gloves and dielectric overshoes. Use protective tools such as insulated sticks and cable cutters.

  • Do not stand or work in areas with thick smoke. Smoke obscures electrical lines and equipment. It also can become charged and conduct electrical currents
     

How can I protect myself from ash while cleaning up after a wildfire?

  • People with COPD, asthma, heart disease along with women who are pregnant should be especially careful.

  • To protect yourself from ash, wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes and socks to protect your skin. Wear goggles to protect your eyes.

  • Wash off any ash that gets on your skin or in your eyes ASAP. 

  • Children should not do any clean-up work.

  • Limit how much ash you breathe in by wearing an N95 respirator. A respirator is a mask that fits tightly to your face to filter out ash before you can breathe it in. You must wear a respirator correctly. Respirators are not made to fit children.

  • If you have heart of lung disease, ask your doctor if it's safe for you to wear a respirator. Pay attention to any health symptoms if you or your children have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Seek medical help if you need it.