By Michele J. Kuhn
RED BANK – A team of federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) specialists set up at the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday to answer media inquiries and offer some advice to area residents stricken by Super Storm Sandy.
Media Specialists Robin Smith and Cheri Huber sat at a makeshift desk for several hours in the theater’s administrative offices with phones and computers in front of them. They expected to be in another location on Wednesday.
Smith said FEMA stationary and mobile disaster recovery centers (DRCs) have not been located in the Two River area of Monmouth County because of the storm that was heading into the area on Wednesday. She expected DRCs to be established soon after the storm passes.
The centers are a place where area residents can go to get answers from FEMA quickly.
Smith advised residents to register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA) so they will be eligible for federal programs, assistance and be able to get recovery information. Those who cannot get through on the telephone may register once the DRCs are established.
Smith also said that business owners should contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) for its various recovery programs.
Though FEMA helps people whose primary residences are damaged, the SBA considers those who own secondary homes and rent them to others as business owners. Those property owners should register with the SBA and could be eligible for loans.
“Do the paperwork,” Smith urged. “You don’t have to take the loan” but by registering those homeowners will get to know what could be available to them.
Those who hear rumors about FEMA programs and benefits should go to the FEMA website at www.fema.gov, go to near the bottom of the page where the “Popular Pages” feature is listed and click on “Hurricane Sandy: Rumor Control.” There are answers there to some of the most frequently heard rumors about FEMA and its disaster relief programs, Smith said.