Applying for FEMA aid now a smart phone app away

New mobile service lets smart phone users apply for federal disaster aid

After an earthquake, tornado or other national disaster, survivors now can apply for federal disaster aid from their smart phones, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.

FEMA has added a new feature to its mobile Web site to enable smart phone users to apply for federal disaster assistance through Web-enabled mobile devices, including the BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Mobile phones, the agency said in a news release.

FEMA created the m.FEMA.gov Web site two months ago to offer information to smart phone users on emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. The site has links to other disaster-related sites. Disaster survivors can also apply for federal aid by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or logging on to FEMA’s main Web site.


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To apply for aid, visitors first must register with m.FEMA.gov and then use links on that mobile site to access FEMA's disasterassistance.gov to apply for federal disaster grants and loans from FEMA, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies.

The federal aid becomes available following the president’s declaration of a disaster.

"As smart phones become cheaper and more prevalent, and wireless networks more resilient, these devices are becoming more than just simple communication tools — they can be lifelines during emergencies," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said.

Fugate also released a YouTube video publicizing the new service.

However, for claims regarding the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, individuals should continue to visit the BP claim Web site, FEMA said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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