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Governor Reynolds requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for June and July flooding and severe weather


Aug. 1, 2018 - Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a letter Wednesday to be delivered to President Donald Trump requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 30 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from severe storms and flooding from June 6-July 2, 2018.

Counties included in Governor Reynolds' request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for flooding June 6-July 2, 2018


The governor requested funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance Program for Adair, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dallas, Delaware, Dickinson, Emmet, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Polk, Sioux, Story, Warren, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek and Wright counties. Public Assistance Program funding is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work during, and debris removal after, severe weather. Following a joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessment of the 30 counties, it was estimated the severe weather caused more than $16 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance program.

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Gov. Reynolds also requested funding under FEMA's Individual Assistance Program for Buchanan, Dickinson, Polk and Winnebago counties. Individual Assistance Program funding provides disaster survivors with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services. The governor also requested the Small Business Administration make low-interest loans available and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide appropriate assistance in these four counties.


In addition, Gov. Reynolds requested funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. The letter can be read in its entirety here.


Seven counties receive Small Business Administration benefits due to July 19 storms

Additionally, Gov. Reynolds announced Tuesday the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted her request to provide assistance in the form of low-interest disaster loans for Marshall County, along with six contiguous counties impacted by the July 19, 2018, tornado and severe weather event. The fact sheet for the SBA declaration can be read here.


"I saw first-hand the tornado damage in Marshalltown," Gov. Reynolds said. "Luckily, initial assessments revealed most of the damage is covered by insurance. However, we must look at every opportunity to help impacted Iowans, whether that is through state programs or federal assistance via the SBA or other agencies."


Affected residents and business owners in Marshall, Grundy, Hardin, Jasper, Poweshiek, Story and Tama counties will be able to apply for low-interest loans from the SBA. Residents in the designated counties will receive further information from the SBA on how and where to apply for assistance. Click here for information released Monday from the SBA.


Streets of Marshalltown, Iowa, in Marshall County following an EF3 tornado on July 19. Photo by John Benson, Iowa HSEMD.





Remembering the Summer of 2008

Recovery to Resilience: Beginning of Disaster 1763

It began on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend - May 25, 2008. At 4:48 p.m. an EF-5 tornado formed and ripped across 43 miles of Butler and Black Hawk counties in Iowa. It was to be the beginning of the worst disaster season the state had ever faced, with more than $2 billion in damage from storms, tornadoes, and flooding. In this video, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management staff recall the events surrounding the "Parkersburg tornado."




Text-to-911 logo: Call if you can, text if you can'tFor the past few years, HSEMD and its many telecommunications vendors and several wireless providers have worked diligently to upgrade Iowa's 911 network to an Internet Protocol (IP)-based system. The improved system, which is more robust and capable of handling new messaging technology, is now 98 percent complete. HSEMD, vendors, and wireless providers continue to work aggressively toward 100-percent statewide Text-to-911 capability.

Click here to read more about 911 Education Month


Though the state's 911 centers will have the ability to accept text messages, Blake DeRouchey, Iowa's 911 program manager stresses the preferred method of requesting assistance is to call.


"A voice call is generally faster than sending a text message, and important follow-up questions can be asked by the 911 call taker so that emergency responders have a better understanding of the situation," DeRouchey said. "However, we recognize there are instances where it isn't always possible to make that voice call, and that's where Text-to-911 comes in. Call if you can, text if you can't."


DeRouchey also wants to make clear that not all mobile carriers have or will be providing this capability to its customers. Currently, six cell phone carriers in Iowa have committed to making Text-to-911 available to customers: AT&T, i-Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.


"Some smaller regional and prepaid companies may also be able to provide Text-to-911," he noted. "You may want to contact your wireless provider if you have questions on its availability."


Text-to-911 was developed primarily for citizens who are hard of hearing, deaf, or speech impaired. Texting can be used in situations in which a voice call to 911 would endanger the caller, such as during a home invasion or domestic abuse situation. Sending a text to 911 can also be helpful in situations in which a medical condition makes it impossible for the caller to speak. Eventually, Iowa’s IP-based 911 network will also eventually allow citizens to contact 911 using video and picture messaging, although that is much further down the road.

Important 911 takeaways

  • Only call in an emergency
  • Keep calm and know your location (this is the first question the 911 call taker will ask you)
  • Don't let your kids play with cell phones (phones no longer in use are still capable of calling 911)
  • Teach your kids the correct way to use 911
  • NEVER hang up on a 911 call until the operator indicates it is OK to so, even if you dial 911 by accident

Public education tools and resources for 911 education are also available on the Know 911 website. Information will also be available on HSEMD social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, throughout the month using hashtag #911education. Text-to-911 fliers and answers to frequently asked questions about Text-to-911 are also available on the HSEMD website.




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