Rhode Island Flood Update: Flood victims you can still apply for assistance!

Worker helping to clean up Warwick Mall - WPRI 12

For everyone that is still recovering from the flood, we haven’t forgotten about you! If you have not already applied to receive help in the recovery process please do so. A recent flood update article in the Providence Journal said that U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is getting off to a slow start. Only 1112 businesses have applied and they are urging the public to apply! They want to continue to help all of the victims of the flood.

On Monday morning the SBA has approved low-interest loans for 14 businesses totaling $729,700, according to the agency. On the other hand FEMA has handed out more than $25 million in grants to individuals. Many people probably think that SBA loans are only available to businesses, but homeowners and renters are also able to apply for the loans. Many people are reluctant to apply for these loans because it takes a lot of time to process one application.

The spokesperson for SBA, Carl W. Sherrill, however is still urging people to apply for these loans. He wants people to apply regardless of how much money they think they need or whether they can even afford a loan. The SBA loan gives business and home owners quick cash that allows them to rebuild before they even receive an insurance settlement. Once the insurance settlement comes the people can use that to pay off the loan to the SBA.

Another factor slowing down the process of receiving loans was that FEMA’s flood insurance program was being discussed in Congress. Businesses can receive up to $2 million in SBA loans, but SBA can only give them $14,000 without collateral. In order to have collateral it has to be covered by flood insurance. FEMA’s flood insurance program has been extended and now businesses can receive SBA loans of more than $14,000.

Please apply for these loans! SBA is there to help the victims; only 112 have applied so far. Applying for this loan will make it easier to start your recovery process. We know that businesses are still getting off to a rocky start after the flood and we want to help. Please continue to call us at Bucci Insurance with any questions you have about your flood recovery process. We would be happy to assist you when working with SBA or FEMA.

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Spoiled food from the Rhode Island flood? You may be able to replace it

While sunny days are ahead of us in Rhode Island, some people are still trying to recover from the recent March flood. We want to continue to help those people in need. Governor Carcieri distributed a news release to Rhode Island late last week that will continue to help Rhode Islanders in need of assistance.

Rhode Islanders that are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), maybe be eligible to replace food that was lost during the recent flood damage. Anyone who feels that they would be able to replace their spoiled food can file a request for replacement of food purchased with the SNAP Benefits form. The forms need to be completed by the close of business on Monday, April 19th to receive food replacement. Forms will be processed and if you are able to receive any benefits they will be added to the household’s EBT card within 5-7 business days.

The form can be downloaded off the

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Flood Recovery in Rhode Island website, at the Department of Human Services located throughout the state, and FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. If you have any other questions about this assistance please contact Local Community Action Agencies at 401-941-0774 or SNAP at 866-306-0270.

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Flood Fraud! Tips for Rhode Islanders on how to spot phony offers of help after the flood!

A week after this historic Rhode Island flood, people are still trying to clean up the mess it has left. People all over the state are trying to receive help and assistance in cleaning up. A news release sent out by Governor Carcieri’s office on Friday, is urging citizens of Rhode Island to be careful of fraudulent offers of help. At Bucci Insurance we want to make sure that our customers are aware

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of this. We want to give the people of Rhode Island all of the facts so that this does not happen to you.

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with Governor Carcieri, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, and the Rhode Island State Police, are the people who want to warn the public about these possible fraudulent offers and what they would look like.

Today, we will provide you with all the tools to spot someone who is not an official FEMA agent. First, let’s start with never revealing your personal information to someone who you are unsure of. Just because they have a clipboard with official looking papers does not mean they are a real agent. If an agent just shows up at your house without prior contact with you that is a sign that they are not a real agent. FEMA agents are always required to call and schedule an appointment before visiting a home.

If you are still unsure if the person is a real agent or not look at their ID. All FEMA agents carry official photo identification. This will include: the person’s photo, name, FEMA seal, expiration date, return address, barcode, and “property of the U.S. Government” disclaimer. Some fraudulent agents will also drive around in a vehicle with the FEMA seal, an official FEMA agent would never. The most important thing to remember is that FEMA’s services are free. If an agent tries to charge you for their visit then you know that the person is a fraud. If any of those situations occur, contact the local police or call the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Division at 401-444-1201.

Please also make sure that you are not fooled by phony contractors. Make sure to always use liscened contractors and ask for references. Never accept help from a contractor who comes up to your door offering to help.

Again if you feel that you have been a victim of fraud please file a claim with the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Division at 401-444-1201 or the Attorney General’s consumer protection unit at 401-274-4400. If you, yourself has not been scammed but you believe that you have witnessed fraudulent activity please contact the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline 1-800-323-8603.

If you have experienced any damage during the flood register claims with FEMA on their website. We want to make sure that Rhode Islanders and our customers at Bucci Insurance are safe during this vulnerable and hard time.

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Floods are the Number 1 Natural Disaster in the United States! Find out how to Cleanup After the 2010 Rhode Island Flood!

Yesterday we posted some things to do to prepare for a flood. We now want to give you some tips on what to do during and after a flood.

If you are home when a flood occurs there are a few obvious steps you can take to stay safe. First, make sure to go to higher grounds. If water rises in your home then evacuate the house. If you can not safely leave your home, then go to the top floor or roof. Do not try and drive through flooded roads or walk across them. Finally, make sure you turn off all utilities.

After you have experienced a flood and the rain has finally stopped it is time for the cleanup. The tips for what to do after a flood, are courtesy of our friends at Puroclean Disaster Restoration Services in Warwick, RI.

NOTE: if you have groundwater, it is a waste of time and effort to try to suck it out with shop vacuums, it will return, see note W1.

W1:  DO: Make sure source has been stopped AND repaired. NOTE: most people have groundwater coming in so you need to wait until it stops raining and subsides naturally because the ground water level has risen.

W2:  DO: Turn off electrical power to affected area, if safe to do so.  If water has risen above outlets in basement, DO NOT step in water.

W3:  DO: Open the house and ventilate if weather and security allow.

W4:  DO: Turn on exhaust fans if available AND if they vent outside, not to the attic.

W5:  DO: Move valuables, electronics, and small furnishings out of the affected area.

W6:  DO: Block furniture off carpet: plastic bags, saran wrap, aluminum foil.

W7:  DO: Remove any paper products (newspapers, books, etc.) from floor in affected room.

W8:  DO: Secure draperies by hanging them over a plastic coat hanger and hooking hangar to rod.

W9:  DO NOT: Turn on HVAC system if water has seeped into ducting.

W10:  DO NOT: Place newspapers or other printed paper on the floor to walk on.

W11:  DO NOT: Turn the temperature up, thinking it will help dry the room!

W12:  DO NOT: Use a regular vacuum to remove the water, shock hazard!

If sewage:

W13:  DO NOT: Turn on fans that may circulate contaminants.

W14:  DO NOT: Have direct contact with the water/sewage or affected contents.

W15:  DO NOT: Eat any food that has been opened in the contaminated area.

PuroClean says that ground water is considered contaminated if your neighborhood has septic systems which overflow and then run into a nearby river, which are polluted. This is similar to what is happening in areas of Warwick after this flood. If this happens it is called a category 3 or “black water.” If you have this “black water” you must remove and dispose of wet drywall, insulation, carpeting, cardboard, and other porous materials which cannot be cleaned. The steps that you need to take in this case are as follows: First, follow all the steps from above. Next, wait for the water to stop coming in and then remove any remaining water. Then, tear out and remove all the contaminated materials as listed above. Next, dry the structures. Finally, clean and disinfect the area and rebuild as desired.

We hope that these tips are helpful to people out there who have experienced damage during the recent flooding in Rhode Island. At Bucci Insurance, our customers always come first. We want to make sure that we can help our customers with all of their flooding issues from purchasing flood insurance to how to clean up after the flood. We want to thank our friends at PuroClean Disaster Restoration Services for giving us great tips on what to do after you experience a flood.

Floods are the number 1 natural disaster in the United States, which is why we wanted to give our customers all of the necessary steps on what to do when a flood happens. For any of you that were hit hard by the recent floods in Rhode Island, we want you to know that at Bucci Insurance, we care and are here to help. If you have any questions please call our offices at 401.558.0101 or toll free at  877.210.7159. Again to apply for federal assistance visit FEMA’s website.

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Is Rhode Island becoming the new Atlantis? Rhode Islanders, it's time to think about Flood Insurance!

It is a wet and bad one out there today Rhode Islanders! All over the state we have roads closed, roads collapsing and even malls closed; Many people are out of work today and kids are home because of school cancellations. This is all due to the heavy rains that Rhode Island has endured for the past two days. It seems that with each hour that goes by we are getting closer and closer to becoming the new underwater city! That is something that no one who lives in the state wants to hear, but it is a reality that the water levels are rising all around our places of work and homes. It is time for people to seriously start thinking about their flood insurance. At Bucci Insurance, we are waiting for your call to help you with any questions you may have about flood insurance. Call 887 210 7159 for a free quote.

One person that is taking notice of the raising levels of water in Rhode Island is President Obama. We blogged a couple days ago about how Governor Carcieri wrote a letter to the President asking him to declare counties in Rhode Island a major disaster area. A news release put out by FEMA yesterday on the 29th, stated that the President declared Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington counties in Rhode Island a major disaster area. This means that federal funding is now available to those counties which can include grants for temporary housing, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses, and many other programs that will help the residents recover from this flood disaster.

All counties in Rhode Island will be able to receive federal funding  on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation. The Federal Coordinating Officer for recovery in the affected counties stated, there are damage surveys continuing in other counties, so that federal assistance may be designated to those counties in need once the assessments are completed.  On FEMA’s website they have posted the ways that residents and business owners in the four affected counties can begin to apply for assistance.

While damage surveys are still being conducted in other areas it is not certain that your area will be receiving any federal aid. If you do not live in one of the affected counties, please make a call to Bucci Insurance. We would be happy to speak to you about flood insurance.It is best that you think about purchasing flood insurance because if a disaster like this happens again, you will be covered. Our goal is too keep Rhode Island informed about the flood situation in our state and let people know about every way that Bucci Insurance can help. Please visit our Bucci Insurance Group website for information on flood insurance or call our toll free line.

Be safe driving on the roads today, and check back tomorrow to see more information on flood insurance!

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Importance of Flood Insurance

Majority of Rhode Islanders lack flood insurance,” that was the title of the article in the Providence Journal on the 18th by Peter Lord and Tom Mooney and how true that statement is. Most people would probably think the exact opposite being that we live in “the Ocean State” and so close to the shore line. How could all Rhode Island residents not have flood insurance?

The executive vice president of Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island stated in the article that only 14,000 out of 460,000 homes are covered by federal flood insurance. It is crazy to think that with the snow and the rains that we have been having in our state this year and even previous years that only 14,000 homes are covered with flood insurance. The residents who live on the Pawtuxet River, where majority of flooding occurred, would have been eligible for up to $250,000 in coverage for all of their losses if they had purchased flood insurance.

Many people today do not want to buy flood insurance because of the state of the economy. Many people probably do not feel that they could afford to pay the extra coverage for flood insurance, which is something that rarely happens. Just think, what if you were one of the residents who lived on the Pawtuxet River, what would you have done if your house flooded and you lost most or all of your possessions. Paying a little bit more throughout the year for flood insurance doesn’t sound too bad now does it?

On the 15th Governor Carcieri declared a state of emergency in the flood region of Rhode Island, which brought in the federal emergency management officials to evaluate the damage. In the article, it says that the evaluation will determine if Rhode Island can get funding for all of the damages to our area. FEMA is able to determine if they will reimburse the state by census population figures. Which means the flood region of our state would have to sustain at least $1.3 million worth of damages to get federal aid. Homeowners and business would be able to receive aid if President Obama deems our area a federal disaster area.

In a press release put out today from the Office of Governor Carcieri, it was stated that as a result of the assessment the most severe impact of the storms were to households, businesses, debris cleaning, emergency response services, and roads and bridges. When Carcieri received the assessment he determined that because of the high level of damage and the economic situation of our state that we needed to reach out to President Obama to ask for federal emergency assistance. Carcieri wrote a letter to President Obama today asking him to declare Kent, Newport, Providence, and Washington Counties a “major disaster” area. We will have to wait and see what the federal government’s decision will be.

As a result of the recent rains, FEMA is drawing up a new flood zone map for Rhode Island because the sea level has risen. This means that you could potentially be living in a flood zone area, which is why purchasing flood insurance is so important. We cannot wait for the federal government to make a decision on possibly bailing us out of future disasters. We need to secure our homes and possessions and flood insurance is our only security.

At Bucci Insurance we work all over the state and would be happy to speak with you about your current policies and the importance of flood insurance. We want to make sure that our customers stay safe during these disasters and the best way that we can insure that is to make sure that you have the best possible coverage to protect you and your family.

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