From the Orange County Sheriff’s Office

FEMA has created a new webpage addressing myths and scams that have spread across social media and the web as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida.
The “Rumor Control” page addresses issues such as a common scam saying that FEMA is hiring employees, as well as myths about diseases such as the plague being spread through flood waters (which is not true).
FEMA urges that you share their webpage with friends and family to clear up these rumors and scams.

Here are some of the rumors FEMA addresses:

Rumor: Pets In Hotels (Transitional Sheltering Assistance)

There are reports that hotels and motels participating in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program are legally required to accommodate pets. This is FALSE. (September 8)

Hotels and motels participating in FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program do not fall under the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act (Pub. L. 109-308 (2006)). Please call the hotel before you go and ask if pets are permitted.

Hotels must accept service animals and individuals with access and functional needs should check with the hotel to ensure if accessible lodging accommodations are available to meet their needs.

Rumor: Disaster Clean-Up And Inspections

There are reports that disaster survivors should not remove flood-damaged sheetrock, flooring, carpet, etc. until the house is assessed by FEMA or insurance adjusters. This is FALSE. (September 1)

Cleaning up and making temporary repairs to your storm-damaged property will not disqualify you from federal disaster assistance.

Property owners are encouraged to document storm damage to their properties – either with photographs or video – and to then begin cleaning up and making whatever temporary repairs are necessary to make their homes safe and habitable again. Put your health and safety first, take pictures of your damaged home, make repairs to prevent further damage to your property, and keep your receipts to show the inspector.

This section is Expanded. Click to CollapseRumor: Shelters & ID Check

There are rumors undocumented immigrants cannot go to a shelter because they will be reported to ICE or CBP. This is False.(August 27)

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stated that they are not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks. In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions. More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) joint statement. The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.
  • Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross’ humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status. The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters. In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person’s pre-disaster address. For people who don’t have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.

For more rumors and falsehoods covered on the FEMA site, go here.


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