The stormís aftermath

Posted by: Courtney Scott  | Friday, July 17, 2015

While the month of July is typically welcomed for its warmer temperatures and bright, sunny days, this July has been quite the opposite. Weeks of rain have saturated the ground and locally, Hoosiers are dealing with the devastating effects of flooding.

Natural disasters are unavoidable, but because we have no control over them, it can also be difficult to plan for them. In the aftermath of a storm, people are often unsure where to turn, but thankfully, there are resources available.

Hoosiers that sustained damage from severe storms and flooding, which is not covered by insurance, can report damage online by visiting the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) website at in.gov/dhs/. This applies to homeowners, renters, businesses and private non-profit organizations. Towards the middle of the page, you will see a section titled “Featured Topics.” Within that section, you can click on “Report Damage from Severe Weather, Flooding – June 7 and continuing.”

This will take you to a form where you will be asked to provide your name, address, phone number and the type of damage the property has sustained. Losses can include structural damage to homes and loss of personal property. While filling out this form is not an application for any assistance program, it does help our local emergency management agencies as well as the IDHS with preliminary damage assessments and to determine if federal assistance can be pursued.

If you have any questions about filling out this form, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You may also direct questions to our local emergency management agencies in Pike, Spencer and Warrick counties. Their contact information is as follows:

Pike County, 100 South 4th Street in Petersburg, 812-354-6776 or tdixon@pikecountysheriffsoffice.com
Spencer County, 200 Main Street in Rockport, 812-649-6020 or ema@spencercounty.in.gov
Warrick County, 107 West Locust Street Room 307 in Boonville, 812-897-6178 or wcema@warrickcounty.gov

This information can also be found by visiting www.in.gov/dhs/2797.htm.

During this difficult time for many families, there are unfortunately members of our society who prey on situations just like this. As the community begins to repair and rebuild, please be aware that not everyone is who they say they are and scammers are often not too far behind a big storm. The Indiana Attorney General has already received around 390 complaints related to home improvements and repairs.

When looking for a contractor or tree trimmer to help clean up the mess, there are a few pieces of advice that the Better Business Bureau suggests you keep in mind. For instance, do not pay for work in advance. Any contractor who insists that you pay the full price, or even half, upfront may be a red flag. When it comes time to sign a contract, read all of the fine print and be sure you understand exactly what you are signing. Most importantly, take time to shop around and avoid making quick decisions out of desperation. Scammers will often use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to sign a contract right away. 

As summer continues, we will undoubtedly get more storms and even more rain. Please stay tuned for my next column regarding severe weather safety and preparedness tips.

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