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This post will be revised with updates from various sources, and there are many links below for those impacted by Michael +  tips on how to get help and how people can help.

On Oct 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, just 2 mph below the threshold of Category 5.

It was the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, and the third strongest ever to strike the U.S. mainland.

USFRA is based out of Panama City so this one really hits us hard and our CEO, several staff and many members were impacted personally by this devastating storm.

There is still no power, water or sewer and very limited communications in Panama City, Mexico Beach and beyond. In some areas nearly all transformers were destroyed.


As of 25-Oct-2018:

FEMA says disaster assistance is available for 12 counties in Florida and 20 counties in Georgia. FEMA will also provide Disaster Unemployment Insurance which includes lost wages for residents in 4 counties in Florida, and some FL counties available for Transitional Sheltering Assistance (scroll down to read below)

Realize communications are sketchy in many parts of FL panhandle ~ Florida SERT has setup a page for individuals to report missing loved ones, well-being checks, and other concerns at

Florida SERT has also set up a site for all information related to Hurricane Michael at

Georgia EMA has Michael related data at

FEMA Rumor Control page is hoping to squelch misinformation being spread online and in communities

Crisis Cleanup can assist you or someone you know with removing fallen trees, drywall, flooring and other cleanup ~ call 800-451-1954 or visit


  • Thousands of first responders and volunteers continue working together to save lives, restore power and help survivors affected by Hurricane Michael.
  • More than 16,000 federal employees, including over 8,000 military personnel have been deployed to support Hurricane Michael response efforts.
  • FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Florida and Georgia helping survivors register for assistance.
  • More than 35,000 utility workers from 26 states worked to restore power. Customer outages are declining; as customers are restored, companies are reallocating resources strategically. Efforts in the hardest hit areas may be prolonged due to access constraints and the level of damage.
  • The federal government is supporting dozens of distribution sites to provide meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open, or supplies are limited. Florida residents can find information about food and water locations by visiting Georgia residents can learn more at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website. These points of distribution are further supported by voluntary and faith-based field kitchens and mobile feeding units.

FEMA has good updates, resources and safety tips at and

"I’m asking anyone out there who wants to help, to go to That’s where you can find ways to donate money or time to help benefit those who need it the most." - FEMA Administrator Brock Long




Homeowners, renters and business owners who have uninsured and underinsured losses as a result of Hurricane Michael in the following Florida counties can apply...

  • Bay,
  • Calhoun,
  • Franklin,
  • Gadsden,
  • Gulf,
  • Jackson,
  • Liberty,
  • Taylor,
  • and Wakulla.

Also FEMA will provide Disaster Unemployment Insurance which includes lost wages due to hurricane Michael to residents in the following Florida counties...

  • Bay,
  • Holmes,
  • Jackson,
  • and Washington.

You must apply for Disaster Assistance to be eligible.


Homeowners, renters and business owners who have uninsured and underinsured losses as a result of Hurricane Michael in the following Georgia counties can apply...

  • Baker,
  • Calhoun,
  • Clay,
  • Crisp,
  • Decatur,
  • Dougherty,
  • Early,
  • Grady,
  • Laurens,
  • Lee,
  • Miller,
  • Mitchell,
  • Randolph,
  • Seminole,
  • Sumter,
  • Terrell,
  • Thomas,
  • Tift,
  • Turner,
  • and Worth. 

Above FL and GA counties may now apply for disaster assistance.

If you have a homeowner’s or flood insurance policy, file your insurance claim immediately before applying for disaster assistance.

Get the process started quickly. The faster you file, the faster your recovery can begin.

How to Apply for Assistance

If you are in one of the designated Florida counties (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla or Washington) or Georgia counties (Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Laurens, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner or Worth), you will need the following to apply for assistance:

      • Social Security Number;
      • Daytime telephone number;
      • Current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property; and
      • Insurance information, if available.

After registering with FEMA, a survivor may be contacted by a FEMA-contracted housing inspector to schedule an inspection to verify disaster-related damage. The inspection generally takes about 20-40 minutes. The inspector will want to see the damaged areas of the home and any damaged furniture and personal property. There is no fee for the inspection.

If the home was found to be inaccessible at the time of inspection, the applicant is required to let FEMA know when the home is accessible and request a new inspection. To update the status of an uninhabitable dwelling applicants should call the disaster assistance Helpline at 800-621-3362. Once the status of the home is updated and the survivor has requested a new inspection, a FEMA-contracted inspector will contact the applicant to schedule the inspection.

On the day of the inspection, applicants should ask the inspector to show a FEMA photo ID badge. If an inspector refuses to show FEMA photo identification, do not allow the inspection. Disasters often bring out scam artists who prey on the needs of disaster survivors. Someone 18 years of age or older must be present during the inspection. The inspector will also ask to see:

      • Photo identification;
      • Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence (tax bill, mortgage payment book, rental agreement or utility bill);
      • Insurance documents (homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and/or an auto insurance policy summary);
      • List of people living in the residence at the time of disaster; and
      • All disaster-related damages to both real and personal property.

Once the inspection process is complete, FEMA will review the case and send a letter to the applicant outlining a decision.

If an applicant is eligible for a disaster assistance, FEMA will send funds via check by mail or direct deposit into the survivor’s bank account. If a survivor receives money for rental assistance, the survivor must keep documentation and receipts of payments made and have a written landlord/tenant agreement for the time frame for which assistance is provided.

If an applicant is not eligible for disaster assistance, FEMA will send a letter explaining why the applicant was determined ineligible. The applicant should read this letter carefully. Many times ineligibility is due to FEMA not having important information, such as an insurance settlement letter, proof of ownership or proof of occupancy. Applicants have 60 days to appeal a FEMA decision. The appeal process is detailed in the letter.

After registering for disaster assistance, survivors may be asked to fill out a low-interest disaster loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans for businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes, homeowners and renters. Completing a home loan application makes it possible to be considered for additional assistance. Applicants do not have to accept the loan if they qualify.

SBA applicants may apply online at Information about low-interest SBA disaster loans and application forms are available online or by calling 800-659-2955 (TTY users call 800-877-8339) or via email to Call SBA at 800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.

FEMA assistance may include help to pay for:

  • temporary housing,
  • emergency home repairs and rental assistance;
  • medical, dental and funeral expenses;
  • essential personal property;
  • or miscellaneous immediate need items.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance or those who may be underinsured may still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.

For more info about Florida declaration visit

For more info about Georgia declaration visit


Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for FEMA. The purpose of Operation Blue Roof is to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs.

Operation Blue Roof is available to all counties approved for FEMA Individual Assistance (listed above). Call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258) or visit Operation Blue Roof website for more information. 



SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline puts people in need of counseling on the path to recovery. Their staff members provide counseling and support before, during, and after disasters and refer people to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support.

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

When you call or text, crisis counselors will listen to what’s on your mind with patience and without judgment.

There is no need to give any identifying information when you contact the Disaster Distress Helpline. The counselor may ask you for some basic information at the end of the call, but these questions are optional and are intended to help SAMHSA keep track of the types of calls it receives.

Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact the Disaster Distress Helpline.

      • In the U.S. call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
      • For all hard of hearing and deaf people use 1-800-846-8517.
      • Spanish speakers call 1-800-985-5990 and press “2” or text Hablanos to 66746.

Learn more at ~ and please share this with others.



When disaster strikes, every little bit helps.

To make the most of your contributions, please follow our guidelines to learn the most effective and safest ways to donate cash, goods, or time following a disaster.

To help people affected by the storm, visit National Voluntary Organizations After a Disaster (NVOAD) for a listed of trusted organizations:

      • Cash is best. Financial contributions to recognized disaster relief organizations are the fastest, most flexible, and most effective method of donating. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through area businesses which supports economic recovery.
      • Confirm donations needed. Critical needs change rapidly – confirm needed items BEFORE collecting; pack and label carefully; confirm delivery locations; arrange transportation. Unsolicited goods NOT needed burden local organizations’ ability to meet survivors’ confirmed needs, drawing away valuable volunteer labor, transportation, and warehouse space.
      • Connect to volunteer. Trusted organizations operating in the affected area know where volunteers are needed, and can ensure appropriate volunteer safety, training, and housing.


Local, state & federal links and preparedness resources

USFRA resources:


Florida DEM Emergency Information

Use Hurricane Michael Life Safety Reports to report missing individuals, well-being checks, and concerns.

Florida Emergency Management social media ids

View of list of Florida's Open Shelters


  • Alert Florida - receive emergency alerts and other public safety notifications in your community
  • Florida Storms - Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Google Play or iTunes
  • Florida 511 - Get up-to-the-minute, real-time traffic conditions and incident information for the State of Florida with Florida 511.


Alabama Emergency Management Agency

Alabama social media ids


Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency

Ready Georgia (get their app to stay current on updates)


NC Emergency Management Ready NC (get their app to stay current on updates)

NC Emergency Management social media ids

NC DPS Hurricane Florence page (evacuation routes and orders, shelter locations, road conditions, ferry schedules, assistance, etc)

NC real-time flood mapping and alert system

NC 2-1-1 (information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina in all 100 NC counties with the support of 53 local United Ways throughout NC)

NC Road Conditions / TIMS (interactive Traveler Information Management System provides current road conditions by Region, Route or County in NC)



SC Emergency Management Division

SCEMD social media ids

SC app (download app for updates)

SC Know Your Zone page (evacuation orders by county, find your zone, download SCEMD app, etc.)

SC Emergency Shelters

SC CodeRED Alerts (sign up for notifications)



Virginia Dept of Emergency Management

VA evacuation zones & updates  

FEMA, National Hurricane Center & other Federal resources

FEMA Hurricane/TS Michael page

FEMA Disaster Assistance (Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in designated areas (see counties at top of post) can apply for assistance by registering at or by calling 1-800-621-3362.)




Social media ids:

FEMA app (real-time alerts, safety tips, emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area, customizable emergency kit checklist, emergency family plan, and reminders, register for disaster assistance, etc.)

FEMA preparedness resources:


DoD (Dept of Defense):

Hurricane Michael resources & info page

Find more resources at … and check back here since we'll be adding more updates going forward and follow USFRA on Facebook too.

Views: 384

Replies to This Discussion

12-Oct-2018 - Major Disaster Declaration declared for several FL counties Thu ~ now homeowners, renters and business owners who have uninsured and underinsured losses as a result of Hurricane Michael in Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Taylor, and Wakulla counties may now apply for disaster assistance ~ see main post above.

13-Oct-2018 - Per FEMA, 9 FL counties are eligible for disaster assistance - see main post...

15-Oct-2018 - Disaster assistance now available for 6 counties in Georgia + 9 counties in Florida

Hi Janet--yes, received your email on Oct. 11. Thank you for your updates and info. Much appreciated.

oh good ~ there was a bug with email so engineers were on it - thx David!

17-Oct-2018 - Disaster assistance now available for 13 counties in Georgia + 12 counties in Florida, and FEMA will provide Disaster Unemployment Insurance which includes lost wages due to hurricane Michael to residents in some Florida counties ~ see main post above.

21-Oct-2018 - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operation Blue Roof now available to all FL and GA counties approved for FEMA Individual Assistance (listed above)

25-Oct-2018 - Hurricane Michael survivors registered for disaster assistance in Florida's Bay, Gulf and Jackson counties may be eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program (i.e. shelter in a hotel or motel paid for by FEMA) ~ read more

27-Oct-2018 - FEMA added 7 more Georgia counties to its list for individual disaster assistance: Calhoun, Clay, Laurens, Randolph, Sumter, Tift and Turner so now 20 GA counties are eligible. See main post for more info

This is awesome Janet! Thank you! I'm trying to catch up on everything. LOL!


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