Jefferson County, Washington
Department of Emergency Management
DISASTER ASSISTANCE GUIDANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS
PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management will be collecting information on what kind of damage occurred. This process, known as Preliminary Damage Assessment (or PDA), includes both damage to private property as well as damage to public infrastructure. The information here applies generally to private damage.
IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN "PRIVATE" DAMAGE AND "PUBLIC" DAMAGE: According to the law there are two categories of disaster relief - PUBLIC ASSISTANCE (i.e. streets, roads, bridges, publicly owned buildings and infrastructure) and INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE (private homes). A Presidential Disaster Declaration may cover one or both. However, to be eligible for FEMA assistance for your primary residence, the Presidential Declaration must include the INDIVIDUAL category. If it is only declared for PUBLIC assistance, private homes will not be eligible for FEMA disaster aid. Remember there are other kinds of aid available from private non-government relief agencies such as the Red Cross.
PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION NEEDED TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FEMA DISASTER ASSISTANCE: In order to qualify to be included in a Presidential Disaster Declaration (to be eligible for FEMA disaster assistance), Jefferson County must have sustained substantial total damage. In the first days following a major emergency, local authorities will be gathering information on what happened and will estimate the amount of damage. This is a raw estimate of the dollar value that will be added to the other jurisdictions that suffered damage. If there is sufficient estimated loss found during the PDA, and the other jurisdictions have also suffered sufficient loss, the Governor will request that the President declare a major disaster, releasing FEMA assistance.
YOUR ROLE IN THE PRELIMINARY DISASTER ASSESSMENT PROCESS: You need to report your damage to Jefferson County Emergency Management as soon as possible (usually within seven days). This is not an application for assistance. The information obtained will be forwarded to the Governors representative to be included in a request for FEMA assistance. FEMA assistance is only available to your primary residence (the home you own and where you the live most of the time).
WHAT TO REPORT: Click here for a damage report form you can fill out on line. If you cannot access the online version, here is what you will need to make your report:
The name of the person reporting (homeowner or authorized agent)
Day phone number and alternate phone number
Type of property where damage occurred (primary residence, rental, apartment, etc.)
Number of regular occupants
Is the home habitable (is it safe and sanitary or can be made safe with minor repairs)
Is the home accessible (access roads, driveways, etc.)
The physical address where the damage occurred (actual street address)
Mailing address if different than street address
Pre-damage fair market value (FMV) of the damaged property (estimated)
Loss to the structure in dollars or percentage of the estimated FMV (estimated)
Amount of loss of personal property, contents (estimated)
Insurance type (homeowners, flood, earthquake, no insurance)
Amount of insurance deductible
Detailed description of the damage
HOW TO REPORT DAMAGE BEFORE
A DISASTER DECLARATION IS MADE BY THE PRESIDENT: Report damage to your
primary residence by contacting the Jefferson County Department of
Emergency Management. Use any of the following methods:
Phone - 360-385-9368
Fax - 360-385-9376
Mail - 81 Elkins Road, Port Hadlock, WA 98339
Email - email@example.com (save the online form with a unique file name; example - use your last name)
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Joint agency damage assessment teams will travel to the damage sites. The teams will verify the reported damage, and evaluate how much of it may qualify for FEMA or other assistance if it becomes available. These numbers will be assembled by the State Emergency Management Division, and will be forwarded to FEMA if they meet the minimum criterion for a request for assistance. This process is done quickly, usually about seven to ten days following the disaster. It is only used collectively to determine the overall dollar loss estimate. We will need a Declaration of Disaster by the President (in the individual assistance category) to move to the next step - file a claim with FEMA.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM FOR FEMA ASSISTANCE AFTER A PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION IS ANNOUNCED: The news media will announce if a Presidential Declaration has been made. At that time you may call the toll free telephone number - 1-800-621-3321 - TTY 1-800-462-7585 - where you can start the claim process. You can also file your claim with FEMA on line or via your mobile device.
After a Presidential Declaration is announced, all disaster assistance claims will then be coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). YOU MUST CONTACT FEMA TO OBTAIN A FEMA CLAIM NUMBER. You may use your mobile device for this purpose if you wish.
DOCUMENT YOUR DAMAGE: If you need to make emergency repairs to your home (in order to make your home safe and habitable until permanent repairs can be made) be sure to carefully document the process. Take photos or video right away and throughout the repair process, keep receipts, keep a diary of actions taken and when, keep a file on all related correspondence.
NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: Begin the claim
process with your insurance company as soon as possible. FEMA assistance
will only cover a portion of your damage.
FEMA WILL PROVIDE FURTHER GUIDANCE ON WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE AND HOW TO OBTAIN IT: The claim number obtained from FEMA is the key to further discussion with FEMA. Usually, FEMA opens offices (aka Disaster Recovery Centers) in local communities where homeowners can go to process claims and get more information on disaster assistance. The location of these offices is widely announced in the local news media and many other public sources.