FEMA on the scene: A guide to what it does

Help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began arriving in Kentucky Friday, and in many areas devastated by the winter storm the lights slowly were coming back on.

Here's a look at some of the many questions Kentuckians are asking as the recovery continues:

What is FEMA doing to help?

The federal agency's initial efforts are aimed at supporting critical emergency facilities — such as shelters, nursing homes, hospitals and other health facilities — with food, water and electrical generating equipment.

Requests for fuel and communications also are being filled. Initial shipments began arriving at Fort Campbell on Friday, and were being turned over to state officials for distribution to areas where they are needed, said Mary Hudak, a FEMA spokeswoman in Atlanta.

FEMA is acting under President Obama's emergency declaration. Much of the aid will go to the more than 140 shelters that have been opened around Kentucky.

What Kentucky counties are covered under the president's emergency declaration?

The 61 counties are Allen, Anderson, Barren, Bath, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Clark, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Floyd, Fulton, Garrard, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Larue, Lincoln, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McCracken, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Shelby, Todd, Trigg, Union, Washington, Webster, Wolfe and Woodford.

What about help for individuals?

Monica French, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Division of Disaster and Emergency Services, said the state has not yet requested FEMA assistance for individual storm victims.

"Right now, our main concern is emergency relief," French said. "We want to make sure people are safe and warm and that critical infrastructure is working properly. We're trying to meet the basic necessities."

Hudak said FEMA's next objective will be to assess the impact of the storm and determine what other needs have to be addressed.

"I feel confident we will respond to whatever requests the governor will make," she said.

What about insurance and storm damage?

State officials are urging Kentuckians to contact their insurance agents quickly to determine what damage is covered by insurance, how long they have to file claims, and what information they will need to provide.

Will homeowners insurance cover basements flooded because of power failure?

Check your policy. Most policies, however, would not cover damage caused by an off-premises power failure.

Will insurance cover landscaping, trees and shrubs damaged by ice?

No. Landscaping is not an insured loss, state insurance officials say.

If a neighbor's tree falls in my yard, who is responsible for moving it?

Unless the tree hits a structure covered by insurance, most policies will not pay for removing it. It's for you and your neighbor to work out.

If my neighbor's tree falls on my house, whose insurance pays?

In most cases, the policy of the person whose house is damaged will pay — unless there is well-documented proof that the tree was diseased or that the neighbor was somehow negligent.

What about damage to my garage or other outbuildings?

Your are covered if such structures are included in your homeowner's policy.

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