The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hazard Mitigation Specialists Coming to Longview

Two hazard mitigation specialists will be coming to the Longview Ace Hardware next week to offer advice and free publications about making your home more resistance to flood damage. Their goal is to help citizens rebuild their homes "stronger, safer and smarter." The hours of this FREE event are posted below:

Ace Hardware
600 Triangle Center

March 3rd-6th
7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sat. March 7th
7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weather Advisory

There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 10:00pm tonight to 1:00pm tomorrow for the Lower Columbia area and I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County. The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for snow. Snow levels will lower to 500-1000 feet late tonight and Thursday as a cold low pressure system moves into the Pacific Northwest. Snow showers in the North Willamette Valley and interior lowlands of SW Washington are expected to accumulate from 1-2 inches after midnight tonight above 500-1000 feet with another inch possible Thursday, but with little or not accumulation.
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means that periods of snow could cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibility.

SBA Remaining at Disaster Recovery Center

Even though FEMA will be leaving the Disaster Recovery Center tomorrow, representatives from the Small Business Administration will remain on hand to answer questions and take low-interest loan applications. The loans are available to home owners who have damages not covered by insurance or initial federal assistance. The center will be open 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Wednesday through Friday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Disaster Recovery Center Closing Thursday

We received word that FEMA will be closing the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the Training Center (Boathouse) on Thursday night. They feel the vast majority of people have come into the DRC that will be coming in. Victims of the flood can still register by telephone and on the Internet until March 30th. Anyone who does not register by March 30th will not be eligible for assistance.

The Small Business Administration will continue to man a desk at the DRC for another week after FEMA moves out.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Use Disaster Aid Funds Wisely

From FEMA Joint Field Office

OLYMPIA— Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division are reminding residents of the declared counties: Benton, Cowlitz, Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Whatcom, to register for disaster assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) and to use the money wisely once they begin receiving disaster assistance checks. They may also register online at

Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn stressed, “We urge people in the affected counties, homeowners and renters, to apply for disaster assistance, get their nine digit registration number and to use the money for its intended use. It is meant to help them get started on the road to recovery.”
Officials emphasize that housing assistance grants are available to homeowners and renters. They are tax free and not a loan. All applicants who qualify will receive a letter explaining how the money should be spent. FEMA and state officials urge people to use the assistance for its intended purpose.
Grant recipients should keep receipts of their disaster spending for three years to demonstrate how the money was used to meet disaster-related needs. Random audits may be done to confirm funds were spent properly.
Housing funds may be used for:
  • Repairs to return the home to a safe and functional condition. Repairs to windows, doors, water and ventilation systems, or other structural parts of a home.
  • Rental assistance, applicants who must remain in temporary housing for a longer period than the inital assistance covers may request additional assistance until their home can be re-occupied or other permanent housing arrangements can be made.
  • Down payment to replace a home that has been completely destroyed.

Those interested in receiving disaster assistance must register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online at Once they have completed the application by phone or online, they will receive a 9-digit registration number. It is important to retain this number. It can be used to track their application and to amend it if necessary.

Additionally 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and can be used to get more information about the Individuals and Households Program.

Car Preparedness and Safety Kits

The following is a recommendation of items to put into an emergency car kit:

  • Water for drinking or cooking

  • Food and snacks (compressed high energy snack bars are excellent because of their ability to withstand most car temperatures)

  • Flashlight with extra batteries, or a hand crank charging flashlight (batteries last longer in LED flashlights)

  • First aid kit with burn care dressings and gel

  • Sanitation items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer

  • Maps and a compass

  • AM/FM radio. We recommend having a radio with more than one source of power, or hand crank radio (many come with flashlights also)

  • Chemical lightsticks or road flares

  • Candle with waterproof matches (remember, in some cases it is not wise to light a match if you are concerned there may be a gas leak)

  • Emergency blanket or sleeping bag

  • Extra clothing

Other useful items to remember:

  • Jumper cables

  • Car repair kit

  • Try to always maintain at least one-half tank of gas

  • Cell phone to report any emergencies (many disconnected cell phones may still be able to call “911” when charged)

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Paper and pencil for leaving notes or recording any thoughts

  • Toys and other special consideration items for children

  • Books and games for entertainment

  • Short rubber hose for siphoning

There are many ways to customize your emergency car kit. It is also important to consider special needs such as those with diabetes or hypoglycemia, babies, elderly, and people with allergies or chronic illness (always consult your physician). For a person with diabetes, remember to have extra insulin on hand. For a person with hypoglycemia, store high energy snacks in addition to their ration of food. For babies, store extra diapers, formula, blankets, and clothes. If you have no way of calling for help, tie a bright red piece of cloth on your antenna. This is generally recognized as a call for assistance. Remember to always let someone know what time you left and what time you expect to arrive at your destination. By taking these precautions, you can prepare your family for an emergency and feel more confident in your travels.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flood Insurance Info


OLYMPIA - The severe winter storm, landslides, mudslides, and flooding of January 6-16, 2009 are an urgent reminder to Washington residents that property owners, living and doing business in areas designated as flood zones by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to purchase flood insurance to reduce future financial losses. Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) urge people to purchase flood insurance. They emphasize that everyone is in danger of flooding, but those living in designated flood zone areas are particularly vulnerable.

Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn stresses, “Most residents are unaware that homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. Flooding is the most common and most costly type of natural disaster. Having flood insurance coverage can make a huge difference when residents face the need to make repairs and replace items after a flood."

Most homeowner insurance does not cover flood damage. So homeowners and others are urged to buy flood insurance. Insuring residential or commercial property can be relatively inexpensive compared to the potentially high cost of reconstruction. Designed to be affordable, the average premium is around $500 per year in high risk areas. Insurance rates in lower-risk areas are even lower. In general, a flood insurance policy does not take effect until 30 days after the policy is purchased.

State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin points out that, “FEMA can only offer financial assistance to residents in the event of a presidential disaster declaration. Most flooding is not extensive enough to warrant a declaration. An NFIP flood policy pays off whether there is a declaration or not.”

Flood insurance is available through local insurance agents, as long as they live in a participating NFIP community. Homeowners can insure their homes up to $250,000; contents are insured up to $100,000. Renters can also cover their belongings up to $100,000. Commercial property owners can insure their buildings for up to $500,000 and the contents for up to $500,000. FEMA and state officials recommend that people purchase enough to replace the property rather than to just pay the mortgage.

To learn about preparing for floods, purchasing an NFIP policy, and the benefits of protecting homes and property against flooding, visit or call 1-888-379-9531 (TTY 1-800-427-5593). Nearing the end of an aggressive five-year effort to modernize the nation’s flood maps, FEMA has digital maps that now describe flood hazards for more than 46 percent of the U.S. population

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program.

Small Business Administration Info


Disaster: WA-00019 Declaration: 11641/11642 occurring: January 6 – 16, 2009
Application Filing Deadlines:
Physical Damage: March 31, 2009 Economic Injury: October 30, 2009
Whether you rent or own your own home, own your own business, or own a small agricultural cooperative located in a declared disaster area, and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
What Types of Disaster Loans are Available?
Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate or personal property owned
by the victim. Renters are eligible for their personal property losses, including automobiles.
Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit
organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – Are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of
the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
• EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
What are Mitigation Loans?
If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc. Mitigation loan money would be in addition to the amount of the approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA to a maximum of $200,000 for home loans. It is not necessary for the description of improvements and cost estimates to be submitted with the application. SBA approval of the mitigating measures will be required before any loan increase.
What are the Credit Requirements?
• Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
• Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.
• Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $14,000 and all EIDL loans over $5,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral
when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires you to pledge what is available.
What are the Interest Rates?
By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere. An applicant does not have Credit Available elsewhere when SBA determines the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from non-government
sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant, which SBA determines to have the ability to provide for his or her own recovery is deemed to have Credit Available Elsewhere. Interest rates are fixed for the term of the loan.
The interest rates applicable for this disaster are:
No Credit Available Credit Available
Elsewhere Elsewhere
Home Loans 2.687% 5.375%
Business Loans 4.000% 7.750%
Non-Profit Organizations 4.000% 4.500%
Economic Injury Loans 4.000% N/A
What are Loan Terms?
The maximum term is 30 years. However, the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum 3-years term. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
What are the Loan Amount Limits?
Home Loans – SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace
personal property. Subject to these maximums, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.
Business Loans – The law limits business loans to $2,000,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses. Subject to this maximum, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – The law limits EIDL(s) to $2,000,000 for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative lending limit. SBA also considers potential contributions that are available from the business and/or its owner(s) or affiliates.
Business Loan Ceiling – The $2,000,000 statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical and economic injury,
and applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates for each disaster. If a business is a major source of employment, SBA has the authority to waive the $2,000,000 statutory limit.
What Restrictions are there on Loan Eligibility?
Uninsured Losses – Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Any insurance proceeds which are required to be applied against outstanding mortgages are not available to fund disaster repairs and do not reduce loan eligibility.
However, any insurance proceeds voluntarily applied to any outstanding mortgages do reduce loan eligibility.
Ineligible Property – Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property are not eligible, unless used for business purposes. Property such as antiques and collections are eligible only to the extent of their functional value.
Amounts for landscaping, swimming pools, etc., are limited.
Noncompliance – Applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous SBA loans are not eligible. This includes borrowers who did not maintain flood and/or hazard insurance on previous SBA or Federally Insured loans.
Is There Help Available for Refinancing?
• SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant (1) does not have credit available elsewhere, (2) has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property), and
(3) intends to repair the damage.
Homes – Homeowners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing liens or mortgages on homes, in some cases up to the amount of
the loan for real estate repair or replacement.
Businesses – Business owners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment, in some cases up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery, and equipment.
What if I Decide to Relocate?
You may use your SBA disaster loan to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether you relocate voluntarily or involuntarily. If
you are interested in relocation, an SBA representative can provide you with more details on your specific situation.
Are There Insurance Requirements for Loans?
To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance. By law, borrowers whose damaged or collateral property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance for the full insurable value of the property for the life of the loan.
For more information, contact SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Don't Let Myths and Misunderstandings Stop You From Registering with FEMA

OLYMPIA—Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge residents in declared counties affected by the January 6-16, 2009 severe winter storm, landslides, mudslides, and flooding, to apply for disaster assistance. Residents should not let misunderstandings and misconceptions prevent them from applying for assistance to help in their recovery. They should call the toll free teleregistration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) to get accurate information.

“People affected by disasters deserve help to recover. The last thing they need is misinformation preventing them from doing so,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. “We strongly urge people to call FEMA to get correct information and to apply.”

FEMA, the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offer a variety of programs to help disaster victims. The following are commonly asked questions and responses with accurate information about federal and state disaster programs and services:
I received help from a previous disaster. Am I eligible for help for this one? Possibly. Every disaster is considered separately. When you call to register, a specialist will evaluate your application for the current disaster.
I don’t own a business. Why should I apply for a loan from the SBA? You should apply because the SBA Disaster Loan program is a major source of recovery funds for individuals and families, as well as for businesses.
I have insurance. Am I still eligible for help? Possibly. FEMA will not duplicate insurance benefits, but you may be eligible for help with losses not covered or with damages in excess of your coverage ("under-insured"). That's why it's important to register for assistance even while you are working with your insurance company to assess your insurance coverage.
I’m waiting for my insurance adjuster. Can I still apply for disaster assistance? Yes. Don't wait for an adjuster before applying for aid or making necessary repairs to make your house livable. Find out what your policy covers and be sure to keep papers and receipts for all work.
I’ve already repaired my home. Can I still apply for assistance? Yes. You might qualify for reimbursement of expenses not covered by insurance. Be sure to keep your receipts.
I got help from the Red Cross. Can I still get help from FEMA or the state? Yes. FEMA and WEMD coordinate a number of programs to help disaster victims. These programs are different from the emergency food, clothing and shelter initially provided by the Red Cross and other voluntary agencies.
I gave information to my emergency manager (or the Red Cross). Do I still need to register with FEMA? Yes. To be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance, you must first apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585). You may also apply online at
I make too much money to qualify for disaster aid. Can I still apply? Yes. Federal and state disaster assistance programs are available to all who suffered damages and most are not dependent on income.
Do I have to be turned down by my bank before I can apply for a disaster loan? No. SBA, which handles low-interest disaster loans, has its own criteria for determining each loan applicant's eligibility. The SBA will decide whether or not you are able to repay a loan. If you are not qualified for a loan, you may be eligible for a grant from FEMA, but it is necessary to go through the SBA application process first.
I rent an apartment. Can I still get help? Possibly. There are several types of assistance available to renters. One type is grant assistance to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing needs if they have to move because of disaster damage or loss. Another type of grant is available to an eligible individual or family with serious, disaster-related needs and necessary expenses that are not covered by insurance or other disaster assistance programs. Renters may also qualify for an SBA low-interest disaster loan.
I'm self-employed and out of work. Can I qualify for disaster unemployment benefits? Possibly. Disaster Unemployment Assistance, funded by FEMA and administered by the Washington state Employment Security Department, provides benefits for workers who would not normally qualify for unemployment compensation, including farmers, farm workers and those who are self-employed. Anyone interested in filing for disaster unemployment assistance should visit the nearest state or county unemployment office as soon as possible.

Disaster assistance is available to affected residents in the following declared counties: Benton, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, and Whatcom Counties.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FEMA Assistance Denials can be Appealed

From the FEMA Joint Information Center


OLYMPIA—Washingtonians who have applied for disaster assistance following the January floods and have received a denial letter should not be alarmed. Every homeowner who has insurance will get a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denial letter if their insurance claim isn’t settled.

FEMA cannot provide assistance for temporary housing, home repairs or replacement which is available from another source, including insurance. But FEMA may be able to assist with losses not covered in an insurance policy.

“A denial letter doesn’t automatically mean that an applicant is not eligible for assistance,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. “Updated information from the insurance settlement will be needed. When that information is available, applicants can inform FEMA at the Helpline number, 1-800-621-3362 or talk to a representative at a Disaster Recovery Center.”

FEMA and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) recognize that applicants may have unmet housing needs even if the homeowners have insurance.

“Those affected may appeal to FEMA for rental assistance if they have used all the rental funds provided by their insurance company or their insurance settlement is delayed longer than 30 days,” said State Coordinating Officer Kurt Hardin.

However, even before the insurance settlement is reached, homeowners can apply for U.S. Small Business (SBA) low-interest loans up to $200,000 for their primary residences, and up to $40,000 for uncompensated personal-property losses, including automobiles. SBA disaster loans can include the insurance deductible; FEMA grants cannot be used for the deductible.

Failure to complete an SBA loan application also may trigger a denial letter. Applying for an SBA loan may make the applicant eligible for other forms of disaster assistance.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Disaster Unemployment Benefits Available

From the Washington State Emergency Management Division website
Seven more counties eligible for disaster unemployment benefits

OLYMPIA – People who live or work in Benton, Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Skagit and Whatcom counties may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits if they lost their jobs or cannot work because of the storms and flooding that struck the region in January. Residents of these counties have until March 11, 2009, to apply for the benefits. These counties are in addition to the eight counties announced last week, which include King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum. Residents of the original eight counties have until March 6, 2009, to apply for the benefits. Disaster unemployment benefits are only for people who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, such as self-employed individuals or those who were injured in the storm, were prevented from beginning new work or became the head of their household due to a death caused by the disaster.
Affected workers are eligible to receive disaster unemployment benefits for work they lost since Jan. 6, 2009, and should apply for benefits right away. Payments will be made retroactively. The first payable week is the week ending Jan. 17, 2009. To qualify for disaster benefits, people must be out of work as a direct result of the storm. Examples include: The person’s place of employment was physically damaged or destroyed, The person cannot get to work because it is inaccessible, either because roads are closed or the business is closed, or The person’s employer or business loses work because it received the majority of its revenue from another entity that was damaged or destroyed in the storm.
Applications are available online at, by phone at 877-416-7274, by e-mail at or the local WorkSource office can assist in printing the online application. Qualified applicants will be eligible to receive between $175 and $541 per week in benefits. The Employment Security Department administers the federal disaster-benefits program for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Disaster Recovery Center Schedule Change

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, located at 1942 1st Avenue in Longview, will no longer be open on Sundays. Their current business hours are Monday-Saturday, 9:00am to 7:00pm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Watch out for Scams!

The Department of Emergency Management reminds Cowlitz County residents affected by the recent flooding, to be careful of scams and other fraud during recovery efforts. To safeguard against disaster-related fraud, officials from the Department of Homeland Security recommend taking the following precautions:
  • Ask for proper identification. A FEMA or SBA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of someones affiliation with an agency. Always ask to see the official photo identification card that all federal employees are required to carry. If they don't have it, they are not official representatives of that agency. Applicants should be aware that they may receive visits from more than one official inspector or representative.
  • Under NO circumstances are FEMA representatives allowed to accept money. FEMA does not charge for any programs or services. While FEMA inspectors assess damage, the agency does not hire or endorse specific contractors.
  • Safeguard your personal information. If someone requests personal information outside of the official registration process, do not provide it.

To officially register for FEMA assistance, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA, online at or in person at the local Disaster Recovery Center. The Disaster Recovery Center is located at 1942 1st Avenue in Longview, between the old Charlie's Restaurant and the Hall of Justice. They are open Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-7:00pm and on Sunday, 9:00am-6:00pm.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Governor Asks for December Winter Storm Declaration

Governor Gregoire has sent a letter to the president asking that 33 counties in Washington be declared disaster areas as the result of the cold weather and snow storms in December. Cowlitz County was included in the declaration request. If this request is approved federal aid and loans would be available to Cowlitz County residents for damages. There would also be reimbursements to local governmental agencies for their snow removal costs and damages.

We will keep you posted with any developments in this request for a presidential disaster declaration.

Today's letter is in addition to the economic loss request that the governor made to the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) in January. The first request was approved and businesses can contact the SBA at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Longview and apply for low interest loans to cover economic losses from the December storms.

Snow thank you!

Well, whether you like it or not, it appears that Cowlitz County is going to get some more snow. We just concluded a weather briefing with the National Weather Service, the important highlights for Cowlitz County include snow starting around 4am on Tuesday in the higher elevations and snow to the valley floor by 10am. The snow should continue until approximately 4pm Tuesday and transition to rain by early Wednesday morning. Temperatures will remain in the 30’s Tuesday evening.

Two Great Fundraisers!

Cowlitz County Search and Rescue will be hosting a $5.00 all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Applebee's on Saturday, February 21st. All of the information can be found at the following link: Be sure to stop by Applebee's and lend your support to our fabulous Search and Rescue volunteers!

Also, there will be a delicious chicken dinner fundraiser at the Kelso-Longview Elks on February 21st at 7:00pm. All proceeds benefit a Kelso man who lost his entire home in the Burcham Street landslide. Tickets can be purchased for $10.00 at the Kelso-Longview Elks at 900 Ash Street in Kelso. Call 425-1482 for more information.

So, on February 21st your breakfast and dinner plans are taken care of!

Further Info on Disaster Assistance

From Washington State Emergency Management Division


OLYMPIA— A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opens in Longview at the Cowlitz County Training Center on Monday, Feb. 9 to provide face-to-face assistance to people suffering damages from the severe winter storm, landslides, mudslides, and flooding from Jan. 6 to Jan. 16. Cowlitz is one of the 15 counties that have been designated for federal individual assistance in the Presidential disaster declaration of Jan. 30, 2009, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said. FEMA and the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) announced the following DRC location and hours:

Cowlitz County Training Center (The Boat House)
1942 First Ave
Longview, WA 98632

Opens Monday, Feb. 9 at noon
Hours of operation: Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (until further notice)
Applicants can register for FEMA assistance by calling, toll-free, 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA), TTY 1-800-462-7585, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, or register online at Registration is available until March 31, 2009.
Visitors to the DRC will find information on:
· FEMA and State disaster assistance programs
· SBA low-interest disaster loans and how to complete the loan application
· Smart building techniques to reduce damage from future floods, and
· Flood insurance
When applicants register for FEMA assistance they will be asked: location of damaged property, their Social Security number, a phone number where they can be contacted, a general description of the damages and insurance coverage, and basic financial information to determine the likelihood of supporting an SBA low-interest disaster loan. The telephone interview takes approximately 20 minutes. People should only provide this personal information if they call the center, not if someone calls them claiming to be from FEMA.

Disaster Recovery Center Info

Cowlitz County has been added to the major disaster declaration (FEMA-1817-DR) for the State of Washington. This disaster declaration qualifies Cowlitz County for individual assistance as a result of the early January flooding.

If you had water or flood damage from the storms that began on January 7, 2009…Please Register with FEMA! It is important to understand that the request to report damages to Cowlitz County Department of Emergency Management in the days following the flood was for damage assessment purposes (in order to get the above declaration), it was NOT the same as registering for FEMA assistance. The registration period is only open until March 30th, 2009.

Citizens can register with FEMA three different ways:

· Call toll-free from 8a-8p daily at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
· Go online to
· Register in person at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), 1942 1st Avenue, Longview, WA, (the building to the south of the Hall of Justice). The DRC will be open 9a-7p Monday through Saturday and 9a-6p on Sunday.

You do not have to go to a DRC to register, any one of the three ways is acceptable. Please remember, if you do not register, you will not get assistance.

For those with internet availability, watch the Cowlitz County DEM blog for updates or other emergency management related information.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cowlitz County Added to Disaster List

Late Friday Cowlitz County was added to the disaster declaration list by FEMA. This means that victims of the January flooding can apply for aid and low interest loans.

To apply for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to answer your call. Those with Internet access can apply on-line at

A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is being opened in Longview within the next couple of days. The location will be posted once the opening date and time has been determined.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Webcam at Kelso Airport

A WSDOT-funded web camera was recently installed at the Kelso-Longview Airport. The camera provides four views from the airport and is helpful in seeing weather conditions are in the area.

Another helpful service at the airport is a telephone weather station. By calling 360-577-1964 you can hear the visibility, cloud ceiling, exact temperature, wind direction and velocity. Pilots use this service regularly so it is very accurate.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cowlitz County Aid Update

This morning the Washington State Emergency Management Division sent a letter to FEMA asking that Cowlitz County, and seven other counties, be added to the list of counties eligible for Individual Assistance. We anticipate a positive response to this request within a couple of days. Once Cowlitz County is added to the list of eligible counties people impacted by the January flood event can apply for aid.

Emergency Management personnel will be meeting on Thursday with a team from the state to look over potential Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) locations in the county. We hope to have a site in the Longview-Kelso area chosen by the end of the week. Once the DRC opens flood victims will be able to meet with representatives from several federal organizations to apply for aid or low interest loans. The DRC will likely open in the next 7-10 days.

We will post updated information when it becomes available so check back often.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sears Offers Rebate to Flood Victims

Did you or someone you know lose appliances in the recent flood? If so, Sears has offered a 10% rebate on all new appliances to citizens who experienced flood damage. Just visit Sears at the Three Rivers Mall between now and February 23rd to speak to a sales associate about this rebate offer.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Farm Loans

Attention farmers! If you sustained damage from the massive snowfall or the recent flood (or both) you are now eligible to apply for Farm Service Agency emergency physical loss loans. You will need to contact your local Farm Services Agent. The information is below:

11104 NE 149TH ST BLDG C
BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA 98606-9565

(360) 883-1987

Cowlitz County to be added to FEMA list

It appears that Cowlitz County will be added to the federal disaster list early this week. Federal assistance in the form of Small Business Administration loans, farm loans, general low interest loans and hazard mitigation are all possible after the disaster has been formally declared. We are anticipating that FEMA will begin the process of opening a Disaster Recovery Center in the next few weeks.
Also, small businesses whose sales were adversely affected by the snow storm in December can apply for SBA loans when the Disaster Recovery Center is opened. Please be aware that none of this has occurred yet, we are just giving readers a heads up that this will be happening.