SQF Complex Fire: FEMA sets up mobile center in Porterville to help residents recover

Survivors can register with FEMA for federal aid on their website or app or by calling their helpline at 800-621-3362.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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FEMA'S mobile center opened in Porterville on Tuesday

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- FEMA'S mobile center opened in Porterville on Tuesday.

It's a one-stop shop for those hoping to receive some financial relief in the wake of the massive SQF Complex Fire, which continues to burn in Tulare County.

"You can register with FEMA, you can upload and drop off your documents because you need that for your application, and you can also go there and ask questions if you need help with anything," said FEMA Media Relations Specialist BrianaSummer Fenton.

Fenton says those with destroyed or damaged homes, cabins, or other property should file a claim with their insurance company first, and then register with FEMA - which can also be done over the phone, on an app, or online.

Survivors can register with FEMA for federal aid in one of three ways - online here, by downloading the FEMA app to a smartphone or tablet, or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) between 7 am and 10:30 pm PDT.

If you use a relay service such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, provide FEMA the specific number assigned to that service when you register.

The helpline staff can also answer questions about applications already submitted.

Virtual inspections are necessary before FEMA decides if someone will receive an award - for home repair or replacement, rent, or other needs like medical bills or childcare.

"We do recommend that you document everything about your damages and that you take photos and make record of anything, so that when you do your virtual inspection with FEMA, that you're prepared and that you have all the information that you need to give the inspector," Fenton said.

Just feet away, Tulare County's local assistance center is still open.

The center can connect wildfire survivors with various county and state resources-one critical service they provide is helping residents replace important documents.

"We're all working together so they're welcome to start here at our local assistance center," said Tulare County Human Services Director Anita Ortiz. "We're able to triage and see what needs we can meet, and then we will definitely do a warm handoff to FEMA as we see fit."

There's no official end date for either center, but the deadline to register for federal assistance, which also includes Small Business Administration disaster loans, is November 23rd.

Fenton says even if survivors don't have all of their documents together, they should still submit an insurance claim and register with FEMA as soon as possible.

For more information, click here or here or here.