Island County Department of Emergency Management is collecting damage assessment forms in the hopes of receiving aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and loans from the Small Business Administration. The damages associated with strong winds rain snow as well as floods.
There’s no guarantee, however, the county will receive the aid or loans, Department of Emergency Management Eric Brooks said. The aid is dependent on the flood damage to the county and state.
“We’re a small piece of all of this,” Brooks said.
Island County is among 24 counties named in Gov. Inslee’s Winter Weather Emergency Proclamation.
Small Business Association disaster loans are considered the primary source of funds for disaster recovery, Brooks said. SBA loans offer low-interest loans to qualifying non-farm businesses, individuals and families to recover from the impacts of an event.
The damage assessment is limited to primary structures and some personal property. Secondary homes, landscape and surrounding property do not qualify for the programs. Aid will only provide some assistance and won’t cover 100 percent of the costs or losses.
“Even if a homeowner or business owner does not want to pursue a low-interest loan, it is important that we obtain their damage information as it would assist the county in reaching the threshold requirements to apply for an SBA declaration.” Brooks said.
Help from FEMA would come in the form of individual assistance declarations, which are difficult to receive.
There are six factors FEMA looks at to determine if an area is eligible to receive aid: the state’s fiscal capacity and resource availability, home insurance and personal property losses, impact to community infrastructure, casualties and disaster related unemployment.
The last time Washington received a FEMA Disaster Declaration was on March 4, 2019 for the 2018 winter storms. Island County was among eight counties that received public assistance.
The Department of Emergency Management developed two online forms to collect damage assessment and set up a call center.
For residential damages: https://www.cognitoforms.com/IslandCounty1/PrimaryResidenceInitialDamageAssessment
For business damages: https://www.cognitoforms.com/IslandCounty1/BusinessInitialDamageAssessment
The call center will be manned Tuesday Feb 18 – Thursday Feb 20: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The numbers are: (360)678-2301 and (360) 678-2302
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Island County did not receive aid from FEMA in 2019. The county received aid. The Department of Emergency Management has nothing to do with the warning the county received from FEMA about the potential probation from the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP is handled by the Planning Department.