Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Putnam Officials Continue Damage Assessment

Putnam County officials are continuing to work with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency in surveying flood damage from a week ago, and now the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has joined the effort. This week, teams from FEMA joined in the effort to document damages and help declare the level of assistance that area residents could receive. Tyler Smith, director of the Cookeville Putnam County EMA said local officials "hope to have an answer soon on what types of assistance we will be able to get our citizens.” The process will take several days just to document all the damages, and is anticipated to take as much as two to three weeks before decisions will begin being made by federal officials once all the data is retrieved.

“We are doing all we can to provide the most accurate information possible to everyone involved. It’s going to be a long process, but we are hoping for the best” said Smith.

He says local residents who have already reported damage to emergency management offices can be assured the damages are being documented, and that information is being passed along to state and federal authorities during the process. Once the assessment process is complete, EMA officials say that every individual citizen who called with damage will be updated on the next steps to take.

“We will be calling everyone who has called us to report damages and letting them know what they need to do next," said Deputy EMA director Sharon Womack. "The biggest thing to do for now is to document damages by taking photographs or video, itemize any repairs or purchases, and keep your receipts.”

EMA officials have been working long hours since flash flooding began last Wednesday morning. Anyone who has not reported damage to the Emergency Management Agency is encouraged to call the hotline that has been dedicated for flood damage reports at (931) 646-INFO.