Disaster News

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

Federal Emergency Management Agency

June 9, 2010

Joint Field Office: Oklahoma City, OK

FEMA News Desk:  405-917-3250

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


OKLAHOMA CITY – Survivors of Oklahoma’s May 10-13 storms and tornadoes can get questions answered, information about the types of assistance available and help filling out forms at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) opening this week in Seminole, Okfuskee and Carter counties.

Staffed by specialists from the state of Oklahoma, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies, the DRCs are designed to provide homeowners, renters and business owners with the disaster recovery help they need in just one location.

“The professionals at the centers really know what they’re doing and they can help Oklahomans in many ways,” said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. “We urge anyone who needs a little extra guidance in figuring out the assistance process to visit a DRC as soon as possible.”

“Sometimes visiting a recovery center can give survivors the peace of mind of knowing they are doing what needs to be done to get state and federal help,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. “With everything else that’s going on in their lives, a little peace of mind sure can be nice.”

A DRC opens at noon on Thursday, June 10 in Seminole at the Community Room, 1605 N. Main Street.

Two more DRCs will open at noon on Friday, June 11 in Okemah at Okfuskee County Fairgrounds, 1204 E. Columbia; and in Ardmore at the Salvation Army Gymnasium, 102 First Avenue SW.

Except for opening day, the hours of operation at all the centers will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

In addition to receiving direct assistance from specialists at the centers, individuals and business owners will also find written materials about various assistance programs available to Oklahoma under the presidential disaster declaration.

Registering for assistance before visiting a DRC will shorten applicants’ time at the center, although visiting a center is not required to be considered for any kind of assistance. FEMA does not distribute cash, checks, debit cards or vouchers at DRCs.

Meanwhile, individuals and businesses still have time to register for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Registration can also be completed online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The registration deadline is July 23.

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, browse the features on this FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov/Oklahoma or visit the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management site at www.oem.ok.gov or follow on http://twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.

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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.

The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property.

These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call the Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).