Calif. Home Inspections for Flood Damage Begin

March 1, 2006

Damage inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have begun meeting with California homeowners and renters who registered for disaster assistance after the severe flooding of December and January. FEMA schedules inspections to verify property damage and losses within seven to 10 days after residents file for assistance.

People whose property suffered flood damage should contact their insurance companies first, then register for federal and state assistance online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

An inspector first examines any structural damage to the residence, then assesses damage to appliances, such as the washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove. The inspector also reports serious needs such as lost or damaged clothing. Homeowners should identify all known damages and tell the inspector if they have a septic system or a well.

Property owners should be able to show proof of ownership and occupancy to the inspector. Renters need to show proof of occupancy. If insurance papers are available, residents should show them to the inspector, and officials will ask applicants to show identification.

“We are also advising applicants to ask for identification from anyone identifying themselves as damage inspectors,” said State Coordinating Officer Henry Renteria, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. All inspectors carry official photo identification. “If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it,” Renteria said.

“There is never a charge for this inspection,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies of FEMA. “If someone asks for money for an inspection, report them to law enforcement.”

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