Thursday is the deadline for Forest Park residents to help the Village of Forest Park quantify for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the extent of flood damage in their homes.

In a 5 p.m. robo-call Tuesday, Mayor Anthony Calderone asked residents who experienced flooding damage to fill out and submit the village’s Data Collection Questionnaire, found on the village website here: http://www.forestpark.net/pdf/IA%20form.pdf.

FEMA has not yet categorized Cook County as a disaster qualifying for relief, said FEMA spokeswoman Cassie Ringsdorf.

“We are at the beginning of the disaster declaration process. At this point, there is no federal assistance available for the floods and storms from last week,” Ringsdorf said.

“The forms submitted by residents are not applications to FEMA for individual assistance,” she added. “They’re a tool for the community to collect damage information, as well as determine the location and extent of damages in their community,” Ringsdorf said.

According to FEMA, To evaluate the need for assistance to individuals, a number of factors are considered to measure the severity, magnitude and impact of a disaster, such as:

  • Concentration of damages.
  • Trauma, such as number of injuries or deaths and widespread loss of water and power.
  • Special populations, such as low – income, the elderly, or the unemployed are affected, and whether they may have a greater need for assistance. 
  • Extent of voluntary agency assistance available.
  • Insurance coverage
  • Local resources to recover
To decide if a municipality is eligible for assitance, FEMA looks at:
  • Any infrastructure damages affecting people’s health and safety
  • Impact to critical facilities, such as utilities, hospitals, schools and fire/police departments
  • Extent of the disaster event
  • Extent of infrastructure damages
  • Cost of emergency worker’s overtime
  • Overall effect on the community’s budget
  • Damages to roads, bridges and/or public facilities
  • Effects of necessary debris removal

According to Ringsdorf Governor Pat Quinn has requested Preliminary Damage Assessments to begin next week in 10 counties.

Forest Parkers can do their part by filling out forms available online at www.forestpark.net as well as village hall, the Howard Mohr Community Center, the Forest Park Public Library, Ed’s Way Grocery Store, and Schauer Hardware.

“It is extremely important that all victims of the recent flood fill out an Individual Assistance form and return it to village hall, 517 Desplaines Ave., by or before Thursday, April 25th by close of business,” a communication from the village said Monday.

In 2010 and 2011, more than $1 million in FEMA relief was collected by Forest Park residents after flooding in town.

While FEMA does not acknowledge basements as living space — and in the past has not paid for remodeling — the government agency has reimbursed costs to replace hot water heaters, washers, dryers and furnaces, Forest Park Village Administrator Tim Gillian said. The awards can also be used to reimburse costs for cleanup, he added.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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