Fort Smith-area residents can expect Federal Emergency Management officials in previously flooded neighborhoods Thursday.
FEMA External Affairs Officer Robin Smith announced Wednesday she will be in Fort Smith on Thursday to assist in getting footage of Disaster Survivor Assistance teams in neighborhoods in Sebastian and Crawford counties. Survivor assistance team members and housing inspectors visit homes after survivors of the Arkansas River flood register with FEMA, according to a Wednesday Department of Homeland Security news release.
"(Inspections) are an essential part of the recovery process for those who need to make their primary residences livable again or have serious personal property loss," Smith said in the news release. "Homeowners and renters should make sure their contact information is up to date and have access to a telephone. They will need to have a photo identification and proof of ownership or a lease."
Survivor assistance team members visit affected areas to answer survivors' questions about the types of help available in such situations, help them apply for assistance, update their contact information and help with referrals. They will need to see survivors' identity verification.
Officials urge flood survivors to not give out their FEMA registration number once they receive it. They also urge anyone who says they are an official to show their identification.
"Beware of individuals charging a fee to apply for disaster assistance, provide a home inspection or any other service," Smith said in the release. "Neither FEMA nor Small Business Administration staff inspectors require banking information or payment in any form. They also do not determine eligibility or dollar amounts of assistance."
Officials will also conduct inspections in Conway, Faulkner, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski and Yell counties as part of their federal disaster relief in Arkansas, the release states.