Monday, March 1, 2010

Storm Damage Assistance

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit sites that experienced damage in last week’s storm with Governor Patrick, State Representative Ferrante, Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk and representatives of the Executive Office of Public Safety and National Grid. We are working together to address the needs created by extensive damage, primarily due to wind, in our region.

Given the scope and magnitude of damage caused primarily by wind in the storm that occurred last week, state officials are working to develop damage assessments (including operational costs such as labor) that could create eligibility for federal disaster assistance.

Presently the following steps are being taken or are planned:

1. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is beginning the process of collecting damage assessments for public property (i.e. costs borne by cities and towns). That process will be coordinated through local emergency management coordinators at the municipal level, who will be receiving guidance from MEMA on this subject. This information will be used initially to determine if eligibility thresholds are met so that the state can make a request to the federal government.

2. MEMA will next be seeking to ascertain whether or not eligibility thresholds have been met for private, uninsured property damage. Guidance will be forthcoming on the process by which assessments of private damage will be collected.

A critical task common to establishing eligibility, for and receiving, financial assistance is the documentation of all damage that has occurred and all costs that have been incurred as a result of the storm. Photographs, drawings, narrative notes, receipts, cost estimates and other similar elements of documentation should be procured and retained.

I remain committed to working with local, state and federal officials to explore every avenue for assistance, and to ensure that losses are properly compensated should federal assistance become available.

Municipal questions relative to the disaster assistance process should be directed to MEMA at (508) 820-2000. Should you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Cynthia Lewis in my office at (617) 722-1600.

The below photos were provided by Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Gloucester City Councilor Paul McGeary.