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FEMA Offers Advice On Disaster Preparedness To New Yorkers

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More than four weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency teamed with Home Depot to distribute information at a Brooklyn store to make sure New Yorkers are prepared for future natural disasters.

The Home Depot at 585 DeKalb Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of several stores in Sandy-affected counties where FEMA specialists are providing free pamphlets and preparedness tips every day, except Monday, through December 4.

Customers at the Brooklyn store wanted advice on how to clean up and recover from the storm.

"I asked what kind of equipment they recommended to use," one customer said.

Brian Kay, a contractor on Staten Island, has customers in the devastated Midland Beach area. He wanted clarification about whether relief funds cover basements.

"Everybody thought that sheetrock, drywall was covered by FEMA, but now it's come to light that drywall in the basement is not. They're saying anything below ground level is considered a luxury," Kay said.

Others wanted to know how to prepare the home for a possible future superstorm or hurricane and cut the cost of possible future damage.

"If they're in a flood area, best thing to do is elevate the utilities. Should they be able to, by local codes and ordinances, perhaps install backup valves," said FEMA official Robert Archila.

Officials said every dollar spent on disaster preparation can save four dollars in costs following a disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Homeowners were also urged to register with FEMA to find out what sort of assistance they can receive. Information on flood insurance was also provided.

"Even if you have insurance, we're still encouraging people to register for assistance because you may be entitled to something you may not know," said FEMA official Ricardo LaFore.

Short-term loans, which can even cover medical expenses, are still available at low rates.

Since Sandy struck, about 234,000 people statewide have contacted FEMA for information or to register for assistance.

By Tuesday, FEMA had approved more than $690 million to help people across New York State recover from Hurricane Sandy, including $176.6 million to Queens, $146.5 million to Brooklyn, $72.9 million to Staten Island, $9.1 million to Manhattan and $1.7 million to the Bronx.

To find a FEMA recovery center near you, visit fema.gov.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

Bronx

- St. Francis de Chantel (2962 Harding Avenue) Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Brooklyn

- Coffey Park (85 Richards Street) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Fort Tilden Park (415 State Road, Breezy Point) Open 7 days, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Gerritsen Beach Little League (2901 Gerritsen Avenue) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Gravesend (10 Bouck Court) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Holy Family R. C. Church (9719 Flatlands Avenue) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- IKEA (1 Beard Street) Open 7 days, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Jewish Community Center YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue)Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Queens

- American Legion (209 Cross Bay Boulevard, Far Rockaway) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Arverne by the sea (68-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Arverne) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Community Church of the Nazarene (1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Far Rockaway storefront (1001 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Waldbaums parking lot (112-25 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park) Open 7 days, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Staten Island

- Borough Hall (10 Richmond Terrace) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Kia Dealership (1976 Hylan Boulevard) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Miller Field (600 New Dorp Lane) Open 7 days, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Mount Lorretto- CYO (6581 Hylan Boulevard) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Mount Manresa Jesuit House (239 Fingerboard Road) Open 7 days, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

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