BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - FEMA has completed more than 65 percent house inspections after August's historic floods in the Baton Rouge area.
The organization has 1,100 inspectors on the ground, each completing about five inspections each day. Overall more than 130,000 people have signed up with FEMA after the flood.
"We're looking at the amount of damage to the home itself, the real property, and then what is required to bring it back to that safe, habitable, sanitary condition," said Darrell Habisch, a FEMA representative.
Wait times for FEMA inspectors to visit homes have d ropped in recent days from about three weeks to now seven days.
While waiting, FEMA encourages flood victims to clean out their homes, removing mold and other water-logged items.
"We want you to document, take photos, and document the damage, but don't wait for a call from FEMA -- you can't live in that environment," Habisch said.
On Friday, Brenda Roberts visited her home for the first time since it took on more than three feet of water. The rising waters forced her to evacuate by airboat.
"I couldn't imagine. It didn't seem real. This is not happening. Maybe the water won't get high, maybe nothing will be damaged. It was in disbelief," Roberts said.
Outside her home, however, sits evidence of a devastating, inescapable truth. Piles of memories dot every curb in her neighborhood off Greenwell Springs Road.
"When I came down the street and I saw everybody's life on the street, it was heartbreaking," Roberts said.
A FEMA inspector joined Roberts at her home, documenting the skeletal remains of what was once her home.
"It was totaled, everything in this house was totaled," she told the inspector.
Her piano, a side table from her great-grandparents, her computer and more were destroyed in by the water. In their place now sit piles of sheetrock and paneling.
The trials of the past weeks have been difficult, but Roberts said they have brought out the best in so many.
"You'll see things, and it chokes you up, and then someone will respond with a tremendous amount of kindness," Roberts said.
Some important tips:
- FEMA will call to set up an appointment
- The inspector will have a FEMA ID
- If they seem suspicious, it is okay to turn them away