As the Hurricane Irma recovery process continues, federal officials offer the following advice for people returning to their homes:
- Apply for disaster assistance. The quickest way to apply for federal disaster assistance is online through DisasterAssistance.gov. If you don't have access to the Internet, you can apply by phone. Call 1-800-621-3362.
- Don't return home until local officials tell you it's safe. Before you enter your house, check for safety hazards like loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. Learn what else to check before and after you enter.
- Be on the look out for scam artists and fraud. Remember you never have to pay a fee to apply for federal disaster assistance. If someone tells you that you do, it's a scam. Other common fraud includes phony house inspectors and fake donation requests. Follow these tips to avoid scams and fraud after a disaster.
- Find help if you're feeling distressed. You can talk to a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm by calling the Disaster Distress Line at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
- Know where to find trusted information. After major storms, rumors circulate and scammers may try to take advantage of you. Make sure you know what's real and what's fake. Check FEMA's rumor control information for trusted storm and recovery updates.
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