EMA shares disaster recovery tips after Clark County tornado

United Way to collect donations for residents impacted by tornado

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Recovery efforts are underway for Clark County residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by an EF-2 tornado early Wednesday morning.

The Clark County Emergency Management Agency shared tips for the aftermath of the tornado, including rebuilding and addressing emergent needs.

Anyone whose property was impacted by the tornado should contact their insurance, EMA Director Michelle Clements-Pitstick said at a press conference. The EMA will have a Care Portal set up on social media and the county’s website to assess and address unmet needs.

People should have disaster recovery plans in place and should avoid signing any documents within the first 72 hours after a disaster, according to an EMA document.

Contractors can be verified through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division, and homeowners should get at least three written estimates for work, according to the document. They should also check references before entering a contract and get proof of insurance.

Homeowners should get any guarantees in writing and final payments should only be made by check after work is completed.

Personal information like Social Security numbers and credit card numbers should not be given out, according to the document.

“Federal, state and local programs will not ask for bank account or Social Security number unless you initiate the call,” the document stated.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Anyone with destroyed or severely damaged properties can fill out destroyed home forms through the county auditor’s office to apply for tax breaks or refunds. The forms must be notarized and include information about the damage outlined in the documents.

Clements-Pitstick thanked first responders, EMA volunteers and other community partners. She said numerous organizations are helping in the aftermath of the storm including Springfield’s Saint Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, Masters of Disaster, Team Rubicon, AT&T First Net and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties (UWCCMC) director Kerry Pedraza said the organization will accept donations for a disaster relief fund that is earmarked for Clark County residents.

Anyone wanting to donate to the disaster relief fund can do so at Park National Bank under United Way Disaster Relief, or on United Way’s website. Donations can also be made by check to UWCCMC or at UWCCMC.org by clicking the donate button and navigating to disaster relief.

Pedraza said that UWCCMC is not taking any administrative fees so that “100% of all donations will go back out into the community.”

Specific distributions will be decided by a committee to be comprised of organizations likely including the EMA, schools, UWCCMC and other nonprofits, who will discuss how best to give out the funds, Pedraza said. The committee will be pulled together as soon as next week.

“No doubt, all of the funds will directly benefit those who were involved in the disaster.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

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