With the break in stormy weather, residents and their property are likely beginning to dry out enough to address damages from the past couple months.

With the break in stormy weather, residents and their property are likely beginning to dry out enough to address damages from the past couple months.

Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Don Lynch said he continues to encourage people whose homes and businesses were damaged by severe weather between May 7 to June 9 to register with FEMA if they have not already done so.

“FEMA plans to operate a mobile Disaster Recovery Center in the parking lot at Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) this weekend,” he said. “Hours of operation will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday.”

People can register for disaster assistance at the Mobile DRC, he said.

FEMA and SBA representatives will be on hand at the Mobile DRC to answer questions and discuss appeals for those who have received a denial of benefits letter.

Avoid trouble

“Remember neither FEMA, the State of Oklahoma, nor any local government recommends or endorses any contractor,” Lynch said. “People should be leery of any contractor who claims to have authorization by FEMA, the state or local government — they do not.”

Also, Lynch said getting appropriate permitting is important.

“Citizens are reminded to get proper permits when rebuilding their damaged property,” he said. “Every part of a building — from roofs, walls and siding to plumbing, septic systems and heating/air conditioning systems — may require a permit before rebuilding.”

A permit may also be needed for demolition, he said.

Permits protect owners, residents, communities and buildings, Lynch said, by making sure repairs and/or construction meet current building codes, standards, floodplain ordinances and construction techniques. Permits also provide a permanent record of compliance with elevation and/or retrofitting requirements, which is valuable information when selling the structure or obtaining flood insurance coverage, he said.

“Obtaining building permits is especially important for those whose homes or businesses are located within a FEMA-mapped floodplain,” he said. “However, residents rebuilding after the recent disaster in Oklahoma need to know that building permits are based on local codes and ordinances that are enforced locally, not by FEMA.”

Lynch warned if proper permits are not obtained, residents may be subject to stop-work orders, fines or penalties.

Contacting your community’s Floodplain Administrator may also provide information on how to find licensed contractors. These offices can provide suggestions on consumer protection against unscrupulous contractors, as well as how to protect homes or businesses from future disaster-related damage, Lynch said.

Lynch said the Pottawatomie County floodplain administrator is Tommy Arnold, who can be contacted at (405) 878-5528.

“Shawnee’s Floodplain Administrator is Shawnee City Engineer Micheal Ludi,” he said. “He may be contacted at (405) 878-1660.”

Lynch said notices have been sent to public school districts, cities and towns in the county — other than Shawnee and Tecumseh — advising that if they had damage and intend to apply for public assistance, they need to complete a FEMA Form 009-0-40 and submit it to the State by July 6.

“We are still waiting on the state to make a request to FEMA for add-on counties for public assistance,” he said Thursday. “On a conference call Wednesday I was advised that State Emergency Management hoped to have everything completed, so I requested recommendation could be made to Gov. Stitt today.”

Watch for updates.