Emergency Management

Disaster umployment benefits available for some impacted by November flood
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 22nd, 2006 at 11:43 AM

OLYMPIA — Workers who lost their jobs, who cannot get to work or who were injured due to the flooding events that struck Washington between Nov. 2 and Nov. 11 may be eligible for unemployment benefits, according to the Employment Security Department.

The President has approved “disaster unemployment benefits” for people who are out of work due to severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Lewis, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties.

Employment Security and Governor Chris Gregoire first announced the availability of the disaster unemployment benefits last Thursday, but only five people have since called to file a claim. “Unfortunately, the recent power outages probably kept a lot of people from hearing our announcement last week,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “We’re trying again because the application window is pretty narrow and people need to apply right away.”

Applications are available online at http://www.wa.gov/esd/ui/dua.htm and must be received by Jan. 13, 2007. Unemployed workers also can request an application by phone, toll-free, at 877-416-7274, by e-mail at dua@esd.wa.gov or in person at local WorkSource centers. Qualified applicants will be eligible to receive $157 to $496 per week in benefits.

Disaster unemployment assistance is only for workers who do not qualify for other unemployment benefits. Self-employed individuals also are eligible for disaster unemployment assistance if they are unemployed as a direct result of the storms. They must submit a copy of their 2005 tax year return or documentation showing their net earnings from tax year 2005 with their application. ###

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Flood Disaster Recovery Center to open Wednesday in Puyallup
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 19th, 2006 at 9:34 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 19, 2006 – Pierce County, the State of Washington and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are opening a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Pierce County to help individuals and businesses who suffered damages from the Nov. 2-11 flooding and severe storms.

The Puyallup DRC will open Wednesday, Dec. 20, at noon at the following location: Microchip Technology Campus 1111 39th Avenue SE Building A, First Floor Puyallup, WA The center will operate Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but will be closed Christmas holiday, Dec. 24 and 25, and New Years, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

While there is no direct financial assistance available at the DRC, staff will help flood victims register for FEMA help or answering any additional questions for those who have already registered. “It is important for all flood victims to visit the Disaster Recovery Center, even if they have already registered with FEMA,” said Pierce County Emergency Management Director Steve Bailey, “there will be a variety volunteer and local services representatives available.”

A key agency on the road to disaster recovery is the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). At the recovery center, SBA representatives explain how SBA low-interest disaster loans can help homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofit organizations pay for their disaster losses.

To apply for assistance, disaster survivors can call FEMA’s toll-free registration number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-463-7585 for persons who are speech or hearing impaired. Please bring your registration number to the DRC. Note: Pierce County residents with windstorm damages should continue call 1-866-798-6363, please do not call FEMA or report your wind damage to the DRC ####

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Tacoma Pierce County Health Department offers food safety tips for power outages
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 14th, 2006 at 2:44 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 14, 2006 – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends preventing foodborne illnesses by taking care of refrigerated and frozen foods during a power outage, and checking carefully after power is restored to determine whether food is still safe. For Individuals:

  Discard any perishable foods that have been without refrigeration and above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Discard any perishable food that is above 45°F for more than two hours. Food items that can be kept for a limited time without refrigeration include:

  Hard processed cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Romano;

  Butter, margarine;

  Opened fruit juices, canned fruits, vinegar-based dressings, peanut butter, jellies, mustards;

  Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, bagels, fruit pies, fruit, herbs, spices and raw vegetables.

  After power is returned, it is acceptable to re-freeze frozen foods that still contain ice crystals and are 45°F or lower. This may result in a reduction in the quality of the product.

  As a general rule, a well-functioning freezer that is unopened and at least half full will maintain foods at 45°F or lower for about 24 hours.

  Do not taste food to determine if it can be kept or should be thrown out.

  Evaluate each food item separately.

  If in doubt, throw it out. For Food Service Establishments (restaurants, etc):

  You must remain closed until full power has been restored.

  Keep all refrigeration units closed until power has been restored.

  For lengthy outages over 24 hours move food into generator-powered mobile refigeration/freezer units.

  Monitor all refrigeration unit temperatures and keep a record.

  Refrigerated foods should be fine as long as power is out no longer than four (4) hours.

  Discard perishable items held above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Before you open for business, check the temperatures of all potentially hazardous foods to determine what can be saved and what must be discarded (examples of potentially hazardous foods include: milk; cooked or raw meat; poultry; shellfish; fish; rice; pasta; meat or milk-based sauces).

  Keep a list of all potentially hazardous foods that you discard for insurance purposes.

  All potentially hazardous food that has been previously cooked must be discarded if the temperature is greater than 45°F.

  Raw meats must be discarded if 55°F and above. For more information about food safety, view the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Food page. Or contact the health department at (253) 798-6500. 

Tacoma, WA – December 14, 2006 – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department recommends preventing foodborne illnesses by taking care of refrigerated and frozen foods during a power outage, and checking carefully after power is restored to determine whether food is still safe. For Individuals:

  Discard any perishable foods that have been without refrigeration and above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Discard any perishable food that is above 45°F for more than two hours. Food items that can be kept for a limited time without refrigeration include:

  Hard processed cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Romano;

  Butter, margarine;

  Opened fruit juices, canned fruits, vinegar-based dressings, peanut butter, jellies, mustards;

  Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, bagels, fruit pies, fruit, herbs, spices and raw vegetables.

  After power is returned, it is acceptable to re-freeze frozen foods that still contain ice crystals and are 45°F or lower. This may result in a reduction in the quality of the product.

  As a general rule, a well-functioning freezer that is unopened and at least half full will maintain foods at 45°F or lower for about 24 hours.

  Do not taste food to determine if it can be kept or should be thrown out.

  Evaluate each food item separately.

  If in doubt, throw it out. For Food Service Establishments (restaurants, etc):

  You must remain closed until full power has been restored.

  Keep all refrigeration units closed until power has been restored.

  For lengthy outages over 24 hours move food into generator-powered mobile refigeration/freezer units.

  Monitor all refrigeration unit temperatures and keep a record.

  Refrigerated foods should be fine as long as power is out no longer than four (4) hours.

  Discard perishable items held above 45°F for more than two hours.

  Before you open for business, check the temperatures of all potentially hazardous foods to determine what can be saved and what must be discarded (examples of potentially hazardous foods include: milk; cooked or raw meat; poultry; shellfish; fish; rice; pasta; meat or milk-based sauces).

  Keep a list of all potentially hazardous foods that you discard for insurance purposes.

  All potentially hazardous food that has been previously cooked must be discarded if the temperature is greater than 45°F.

  Raw meats must be discarded if 55°F and above. For more information about food safety, view the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Food page. Or contact the health department at (253) 798-6500.

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How to apply for FEMA assistance
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 13th, 2006 at 11:17 AM

Tacoma, WA – December 13, 2006 – Pierce County residents and business owners who sustained flood losses can apply for assistance by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800- 621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (local time) Monday through Saturday until further notice. What information is needed to apply? Whether applying online OR over the phone, you should have a pen and paper and the following information ready:

  Your Social Security number.

  Current and pre-disaster address.

  A telephone number where you can be contacted.

  Insurance information.

  Total household annual income

  A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account).

  A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster. Note: FEMA verifies the name and social security number of those registering for disaster assistance. If the name and social security number on file with the social security administration does not match the information you provide you will be asked to submit a copy of an original document, e.g. marriage license, military ID, tax documents, etc., for proof of identity. A need to review and update identity documentation may cause delays in delivery of assistance. After you’ve completed your application for assistance, you will receive a FEMA application number. Write down this number and keep it for future reference.

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SBA stands ready to assist victims of Washington’s severe storms and flooding
Posted By Sheri Badger on Dec 13th, 2006 at 10:51 AM

Sacramento, CA – December 13, 2006 – Steven C. Preston, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced that SBA will make low-interest disaster loans available to Washington residents and businesses. These SBA disaster loans are now available because of President Bushs Federal disaster declaration. The declaration covers Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Lewis, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum Counties following the severe flooding and storms that occurred in late October. We look forward to working with the State of Washington to make our loans available to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes who were affected by last months storms, said Administrator Preston. We will be swift in our efforts, along with our partners at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help Washington disaster victims rebuild their homes and businesses. Once local recovery facilities are identified in the declared areas, SBA officials will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses of any size and private non-profit organizations may borrow up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future. For small businesses only, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. Interest rates can be as low as 3 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based upon each applicants financial condition. To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, victims must first call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Additional details on the location of assistance centers and the loan application process deadlines can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is February 12, 2007. The EIDL deadline is September 12, 2007.

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