Damage hotline available to residents

Residents in King County have reported more than $2 million in damages to private property from the recent wind storm. Following the wind storm, residents were requested to report damages to the King County Office of Emergency Management.

"I'm very appreciative of the over 200 property owners who took the time to call and report damages," said County Executive Ron Sims. "It is clear that areas in eastern King County around the cities of Maple Valley, Enumclaw and Snoqualmie were impacted the most."

The purpose of establishing a damage reporting hotline is to collect data that supports the need for federal disaster assistance programs. Information collected will be forwarded to the Washington State Emergency Management Division for their analysis and if appropriate, for making a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal disaster assistance.

One such disaster assistance program is the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Declaration. In order to qualify for an SBA Declaration there must be a minimum of 25 homes or businesses that have experienced uninsured damages of 40 percent or greater.

"Based on our analysis of the data collected to date, (35 homes and six businesses appear to qualify) it would appear that King County will qualify for this program that provides low interest loans to property owners," said Eric Holdeman, director of the Office of Emergency Management.

If federal disaster assistance is provided for this wind storm it will be announced to the public via the media, with instructions on how to apply for disaster aid.

"This latest event reminds us that we all need to be prepared for all types of disasters," Holdeman said. "One of the best things people can do to protect their property and economic well-being is to have adequate property insurance for their homes and businesses."

"Disasters strike unexpectedly and sometimes randomly and government agencies, private sector companies and residents must all be prepared," Sims said. "I applaud the agencies that responded to this wind storm including Puget Sound Energy, one of our Regional Disaster Plan partners. PSE quickly mobilized crews and worked diligently to get the power back on for the thousands who were left in the dark."

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