Helpful resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene

Our hearts and our prayers go out to everyone who suffered loss as the result of Hurricane Irene. We hope the following information, disseminated by the three political parties working together, is helpful as we all do our best to help our friends and neighbors put their lives back together.

Contacting Vermont Emergency Management: VEMA and FEMA are coordinating the state and federal efforts with the various relevant agencies, including the Vermont National Guard. If your community has an individual need, call VEMA/FEMA headquarters at 211. A reminder, it is important that property damage be reported by also calling 211.

Individuals: Individuals reporting property damage should call 211.

Businesses: Businesses should call the Agency of Commerce and Community Development at (ACCD) at 828-3211 to report damage which will be collated for VEM and FEMA. ACCD will also make referrals for financing and technical assistance. The information needed when businesses make the call is: name of business, location (complete address), description of damage, point of contact, date damage occurred. There are additional questions for historic properties.

Returning to Your Home: For information on cleaning up your home after flooding, visit: http://vem.vermont.gov/home/return.

Fuel Tanks: If you find a fuel tank on your property or floating in flood waters, please contact the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association at 802-223-7750 or info@vermontfuel.com.

Ride Share: This site is designed for commuters to find car pools, but can be a valuable asset for individuals whose cars are damaged or destroyed: http://www.connectingcommuters.org/.

Additional Resources: The latest information is available at http://vem.vermont.gov/. Information on roads and bridges is available at http://www.511vt.com/ or by calling 511.

Legal Services: The Vermont Bar Association, Vermont Legal Aid, Legal Services Law Line of Vermont and the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project have pro bono lawyers standing by to help victims of Tropical Storm Irene. Call 1-800-889-2047 to speak by phone with a Legal Aid or Law Line attorney, or be assigned an attorney through the Volunteer Lawyer Project. Visit http://www.vtlawhelp.org/disaster_Irene for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid: The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has allocated up to $10 million in special low-interest financing for Vermont businesses and farms who suffered direct physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irene. The Hurricane Irene Assistance Loan Program funds are available immediately.

Volunteering to help: There are two sites in particular that you may want to check periodically: One is the Seven Days Blog entitled: After Irene: How You Can Help Vermont: http://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2011/08/after-irene-how-you-can-help-vermont.html  And the other is a web resource for volunteering: http://vtresponse.wordpress.com