FEMA: Reps May Knock on Your Door

Officials detail what to be wary of and what to expect.

Folks looking to confirm that a knock on the door from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is legitimate should keep a couple of things in mind, according to a spokesperson.

Members of the agency's community relations team have been going door-to-door in Putnam, as well as many of the surrounding counties, FEMA spokesperson Gary Weidner said Friday morning. 

They are tasked with informing residents, who may be in need of damage assistance after Hurricane Sandy, about the application process. Representatives carry flyers and official badges, Weidner told Patch.

But spontaneous visits are not the protocol for other FEMA officials. Inspectors should always call first to make an appointment, rather than just show up at a home, according to Weidner. If that's not the case, the resident would be wise to request credentials—and ask why a phone call never transpired.

"If it's at all suspicious, or they don't have credentials, call local law enforcement," Weidner said. "Better safe than sorry. People who have had damage have been traumatized enough."

Earlier this week Gov. Andrew Cuomo added Putnam to the list of disaster areas—which also includes Orange, Rockland, Westchester and Ulster counties—in New York. Weidner said community relations folk in those counties have been following the same procedures.

Ashley Tarr (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Has anyone had a visit? I've heard of at least two Putnam folks who say they have, and in both cases they seemed to be wondering if the people were actually with FEMA. I spoke with officials at the Southeast barracks of the State Police yesterday and they said they have not received any complaints about this matter. A spokesperson from the Sheriff's Office was unavailable for comment.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM
And this just in from County officials: "They are absolutely going door-to-door. They said they wanted to be sure they reached out to as many people as they could. All FEMA employees have been instructed to wear FEMA clothing and immediately present their FEMA ID without being asked. We have also provided the Sheriff’s Department and the local [police departments] with the list of names of all FEMA employees so anyone that has any suspicion should call their local police provider and provide the name of the FEMA employee. The PD will be able to positively identify them. In addition, all residents should be reminded that the door-to-door FEMA representatives will NOT ask for any banking information or other confidential information. They are there to simply help the residents understand the process and discuss the different ways they can seek help."


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