STATE/FEDERAL COMMUNITY RELATIONS TEAMS KNOCKING ON DOORS IN TORNADO-DAMAGED COMMUNITIES

Disaster News

May 28, 2010

FEMA News Desk:    405-917-3250

OEM PIO Michelann Ooten:   405-521-2481 (office); 405-205-1879 (cell)

STATE/FEDERAL COMMUNITY RELATIONS TEAMS KNOCKING ON DOORS IN TORNADO-DAMAGED COMMUNITIES

OKLAHOMA CITY – Do you have questions about recovering from the May 10-13 tornadoes and storms? The state of Oklahoma and FEMA are providing several ways to get answers – and one may be knocking on your door shortly.

Teams of Community Relations professionals have started going door to door in communities hit by the tornadoes and storms. These teams include Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and FEMA specialists. All carry photo IDs, and the FEMA team members are wearing agency shirts.

As they visit homes, businesses and churches, teams are educating people about state and federal assistance programs and answering questions about the assistance process. They carry fliers about the state/federal Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) that have begun to open to serve the public, plus information about registration and other programs.

“Oklahomans affected by the storms shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions when a Community Relations team stops by,” said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. “The state of Oklahoma and FEMA have sent these professionals into communities as one more resource to help people start getting back on their feet.”

Meanwhile, one DRC has opened for Cleveland County in the Little Axe community outside Norman, with more centers opening Saturday for Oklahoma County in Midwest City and for Pottawatomie County in Shawnee. Staffed by state and federal workers, DRCs provide another way for people to sit down with experienced professionals who can answer questions and help them start the recovery process.

“Our combined Community Relations effort will continue as long as needed,” Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton said. “Some people prefer to talk to someone face to face, and our door-to-door and DRC outreach fill that need for direct contact. We urge people to take advantage of these resources while they are available.”

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, DRC locations and other help available, visit www.fema.gov/oklahoma or www.oem.ok.gov. From the FEMA Oklahoma portal, click on the “How FEMA Helps” button for assistance details and on the “May Tornado Disaster” banner for DRC information.

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Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.