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FEMA Registration Offices Resume Normal Schedule

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) telephone registration
service for the California wildfires disasters are now open normal
hours, after Christmas and New Year’s closures.

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Telephone registration, 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA), will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., including Saturdays and Sundays. The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. Online registration is available anytime, including holidays, at www.fema.gov.

“Everyone who suffered a wildfire loss should register for FEMA assistance,” said Mark Neveau, federal coordinating officer for the California disaster. “That is true even if you have insurance and even if you think your insurance will fully cover your loss.”

The registration deadline is Jan. 20, 2009, which may be before many people have settled with their insurance company. Only those who are registered by the deadline will have the opportunity to request FEMA help later if they discover that insurance did not cover all of their loss.

“Every day, our Community Relations specialists who are canvassing damaged neighborhoods find residents who have not registered with FEMA,” said Tom Maruyama, deputy state coordinating officer for the disaster. “Those people may be missing out on the opportunity to apply for state and federal assistance.”

So far, 2,151 persons have registered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Santa Barbara Counties. There have been 332 households approved for FEMA assistance to date.

Applicants with insurance are initially denied FEMA assistance unless they already have settled with the insuror and have proof that their loss exceeds their coverage. A denied FEMA application can be reopened later. People can track their application’s status by calling the same number,       1-800-621-3362, or online at www.fema.gov.