Pennsylvania residents who sustained damages to their homes or businesses as a result of flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee should report those damages to local municipal officials as soon as possible, according to a press release issued Saturday.
"It's very important for residents to file preliminary damage reports as soon as possible with their local governments," said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Glenn Cannon. "Teams of local, county, state and federal staffers will conduct preliminary damage assessments as soon as it's safe to do so, but it's not possible for them to inspect every damaged property so we need the public's help."
Affected people should:
- photograph and document losses
- report damages to the municipal emergency management office
- save receipts from cleanup and repairs on their property.
"Homeowners, renters, and business owners should document damage with photographs and detailed information on the losses they have sustained," Cannon said. "Even if you have insurance and don't anticipate asking for federal assistance, this information will show the overall impact of this storm, and could help local communities get money to rebuild roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure."
Cannon said this information will also be crucial if Pennsylvania later gets a disaster declaration, making financial aid available to individuals and businesses. He said at that time, state and federal officials will issue instructions on how people can sign up for assistance.
Each municipality is responsible for collecting damage reports from residents and reporting them to counties for submission to PEMA. PEMA compiles the totals and sends them to federal officials to be considered as part of the state's request for a federal disaster declaration.
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has a mental health crisis counseling hotline open to those who need help coping with mental health issues related to the flooding. The number is 1-866-803-6382. The hotline is staffed by trained crisis workers 24 hours a day during the immediate crisis period.