Special to the Opelika Observer

The State/FEMA disaster recovery centers (DRCs) in Lee
County will close permanently this Saturday.
Working with city and county officials, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and FEMA closely monitor visits to DRCs. The closure of DRCs marks a major milestone in the disaster recovery process. Centers close when traffic slows at those locations.
The centers are located at:
– Providence Baptist Church 2807 Lee Road 166 Opelika, Al 36804 Hours: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Will close Saturday at 7 p.m. C.S.T.
– Smiths Station City Hall 2336 Lee Road 430 Smiths Station, Al 36877 Hours: 7 p.m. – 5 p.m. Will close Saturday at 5 p.m. E.S.T.
Help for survivors will still be available after the DRCs close.
The FEMA Helpline is staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice. Call 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or video relay services) or 800-462-7585 for TTY users. Use the helpline to:
• Register with FEMA for assistance

• Provide a change of address, telephone and bank account numbers and insurance

• Receive information about FEMA home inspections.
• Get other questions answered about federal disaster assistance.

• Ask questions about a determination letter from FEMA.

• Learn how to appeal a FEMA decision.

• Applicants should have the nine-digit FEMA registration number issued when they registered for assistance. Survivors are also strongly encouraged to set up a disaster account with FEMA online. This is an easy way to keep in touch with FEMA. Applicants can:
• Upload critical documentation.

• Check the status of the application and inspection.

• Update personal information, such as current mailing address and phone number.

• Securely view messages from FEMA.

• Access the FEMA Internet Helpdesk (for online account issues only).
To set up a disaster account online:
• Go to https://www.DisasterAssitance.gov • Select the “Create Account” button at the bottom of the page and follow instructions. • A PIN will be sent to the email address on file. You can then log into your account. • Documents can be uploaded in the Upload Center. (This page takes you to the login if you are returning to add more documents: https://go.usa.gov/xUPX5) Applicants can submit important documents as well by faxing them to (800) 827-8112, being
sure to include the registration number prominently on the cover page, or by mailing them to:
FEMA – Individuals & Households Program National Processing Service Center P.O. Box 10055 Hyattsville, MD 20782-8055
Remember that applicants must submit documents to FEMA either by uploading, faxing or mailing them. Simply showing them to a FEMA inspector will not suffice.

FEMA assistance is designed to meet an applicant’s disaster-related serious needs and necessary expenses to begin his or her recovery process. It is important for survivors to keep FEMA informed of any changes to their circumstances.
Homeowners and renters who registered for FEMA disaster assistance following the March 3 tornadoes should notify FEMA of changes to their mailing address, phone number, email address and any other critical information.
If they discover additional damage after a FEMA inspection or receive an insurance settlement, or if they disagree with the determination letter they received, let FEMA know.
Survivors can stay in touch by: • Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov. • Calling 800-621-3362; TTY 800-462-7585. (Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.)

The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. • Downloading the FEMA mobile app. • Talking face-to-face with a specialist at any disaster recovery center (DRC) location. Go to fema.gov/DRC for locations and hours of operation of DRCs. Survivors who update their information must provide their nine-digit registration number listed on all correspondence from FEMA.
Those seeking a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan should complete the application as soon as possible.
To apply for an SBA loan:
• Go online to Disasterloan.sba.gov/ela • Call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at: 800-659-2955, TTY 800-877-8339 or Video Relay Service (VRS) 800-659-295