Disaster Assistance in the Wake of Harvey

DISASTER ASSISTANCE, FEMA, & TDI
For information on the Texas Disaster Declaration and more, visit www.fema.gov. Residents and businesses in declared counties who sustained disaster related damage due to Hurricane Harvey may apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Registering online is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance. If you do not have access to the internet you may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. You may also use the FEMA mobile app.

For help with insurance questions and recovery resources, visit Texas Department of Insurance’s Help After Harvey website.

 

INSURANCE CLAIMS
To file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

For more on the claims filing process, see the Texas Department of Insurance –www.tdi.texas.gov/takefive/filing-home-claim

 

U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LOANS
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering assistance. Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Texas businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s major disaster declaration. Applicants may apply online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call (800) 659-2955.

 

WAYS TO HELP
To volunteer with high water vehicles or boats:
Call 713-881-3100 and ask for a Fire Marshal

Medical personnel can contact Remote Area Medical (RAM) to help with rescue efforts.
Contact RAM at volunteers@ramusa.org or 865-579-1530.

Anyone wanting to be paid for their services:
http://www.fema.gov/about-industry-liaison-program or Google “FEMA Industry”

For contractors looking for work, see the State of Texas purchasing and contracting office:
512-463-3034, option 1.

Independent drivers/haulers:
Coyote Broker
https://www.coyote.com/
877-6-COYOTE 877-626-9683

Group drivers/haulers:
www.GSA.gov
1-844-GSA-4111 (1-844-472-4111)

Tip of the Week: Starting September 1, 2017, texting and driving in Texas is illegal statewide

Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 62 into law.  Under the new law, texting while driving within the state of Texas will be punishable by a fine up to $99 for first-time offenders and $200 for repeat offenders.

The state law covers texting only and prohibits the use of hand-held phones to “read, write or send an electronic message” while driving.

The new law also states that if an accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year.

Heatstroke Safety Tips – Everything you need to know to keep your kids safe from heatstroke

This week’s heat index is over 100 degrees, so we want to provide parents with another reminder about the dangers of heatstroke. Babies and young children can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store. The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke.

Reduce the number of deaths from heatstroke by remembering to ACT:

A – Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in the car on their own.

C – Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

T – Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle. For more information, visit safekids.org.

Crime Prevention Tip of the Week: Guard Your Cards

Credit/debit card fraud is a form of identity theft. It occurs when a criminal deceitfully gains access to and uses another person’s payment card account. If this happens to you, fraudsters may not stop at racking up charges on your card in a store. They can cause many other problems, including accessing and changing your personal information.

You can reduce your exposure to card fraud and theft by following basic card account maintenance and safety practices.

  • Safely store cards when they are not in use.
  • Consider the amount of cards you possess. The benefits of having several may be outweighed by the risks, such as losing track of their location or account activity.
  • Always memorize your card PINs. Never write them down on cards or share them with others. Change them frequently.
  • Make a list of your card account numbers, expiration dates, and customer service phone numbers. Keep the list in a secure place that you can access quickly if your cards are lost or stolen.
  • Go “paperless” with bills and statements.
  • Check your card activity and bank accounts regularly. Look for unfamiliar charges.
  • Keep a close eye out for charges of less than a dollar to two. A thief may first charge a small amount to “test out” using your card.
  • When you receive replacement cards, thoroughly destroy the old ones.
  • Stop unsolicited credit card convenience checks. Thieves can steal these from your mailbox or trash and use them to access your credit and identity.
  • Don’t give out card information over the phone unless you made the call and you know you’re dealing with a trustworthy business.
  • Assign just one credit card for online purchases.

    You can stop receiving unsolicited, prescreened offers of credit or insurance by mail as well as by phone or email. Call 888-5-OPTOUT or go to optoutprescreen.com. You can choose to opt out for five years or permanently.