Hurricane Matthew: Help for Clean-up and Damage Assistance

Wilson County was declared a federal disaster area on October 11, 2016 due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. This declaration makes available FEMA resources for Wilson residents affected by the storm. We’ve gathered some resources to help with clean-up.

Safety is our primary concern when evaluating conditions. City inspectors want to ensure residents are safe and repairs are completed appropriately. Flooding can cause many different types of damage and some are more apparent than others. For example, any electrical wiring or equipment that was flooded or exposed to water must be appropriately tested. If your home had flooding damage, electricity is turned off to the property until inspectors can make sure the home is safe. We do this to prevent electric shock and fires.

City of Wilson inspections can be reached 252-399-2220 or 252-399-2219. Permit fees have been waived for storm repairs.

Click or tap any section title to collapse or expand it.

Expand all sections | Collapse all sections

Home Safety & Clean Up

The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings (pdf)

Cleaning Flooded Buildings (pdf)

Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) encourage individuals whose property has been damaged by a disaster to observe the following guidelines once local officials state you are allowed to return to your residence. These guidelines apply to homeowners and renters.

DO look for obvious structural damage to your property and its foundations. If you see significant structural damage, don’t attempt to enter the affected building.

DO check for and stay away from downed or dangling electrical power lines – and anything those lines touch – and broken sewer and water pipes on your property. Make sure electrical outlets and appliances are dry before turning power back on. If unsure about the condition of wiring or appliances, have an electrician check them to make sure there are no short circuits.

DO photograph and/or videotape damaged structures and all damaged property. Keep copies of the photographs and video and give one to your insurance adjuster and/or FEMA representative.

DO make a list of damaged or lost items.

DO contact local building inspection officials to determine permit requirements and rebuilding guidelines after a disaster.

DO, if possible, after photographing the damage, make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. For example, cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.  NOTE: After a disaster, FEMA may implement a Mission Assignment with the US Army Corps of Engineers, a contracting initiative which allows for the temporary roofing of damaged homes. The roofing is usually plastic sheeting (blue tarps) and is placed on homes in an effort to limit the amount of additional damage to the home.  The Individual Assistance (IA) officer will decide at the onset of a disaster if a Mission Assignment will be requested.

DO maintain accurate records of all repairs and save receipts for repair work.

DO NOT throw out damaged property before your adjuster and/or FEMA has inspected the debris unless it is a health hazard or impedes local cleanup. If you do throw out items, be sure to take photos beforehand.

DO NOT make extensive or permanent repairs to your property until your insurance adjuster or a FEMA representative has assessed the damage to your property.

If you have insurance: Give prompt written notice to your insurance company. If you cannot be easily contacted, give your insurance company the contact information of a trusted friend or relative who can reach you if necessary.

Keep an accurate record of temporary repair and living expenses if a loss of use is suffered.


In the case of a homeowner whose home is uninhabitable as a result of the disaster, and whose damages are uninsured, FEMA’s habitability inspectors are trained to record damages as they existed at the time of the event (not at time of inspection).  The inspector can use receipts, photos, and any other available documentation in making the habitability assessment and verification of damages. Ensure you retain copies of all information (photos, receipts) before you give copies to FEMA.


In the case of a renter, FEMA’s inspectors are trained to record damages and determine habitability based upon findings as they exist at time of inspection.  Renters are still encouraged to begin cleanup immediately rather than waiting for FEMA.  By doing so, they too may be able to salvage items before they are damaged or destroyed.  Renters are also encouraged to document with photos if possible any essential personal property items which are discarded. Ensure you retain copies of all information (photos, receipts) before you give copies to FEMA.

Use this web site to register with FEMA for disaster assistance.

FEMA Assistance

Now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has added Wilson County to the list of areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew, residents and business owners may now be eligible for a variety of federal programs.

Assistance may include grants for temporary housing, rental assistance and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed personal property, and medical and dental expenses. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration may also be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance.

There are three ways to register:

  • Online:
  • By Phone: 18006213362 or TTY: 18004627585
  • In Person: Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Download the FEMA App to find the nearest location.

FEMA is now planning to open a Disaster Recovery Center in eastern North Carolina later this week. Check back for details.

Evaluating Water- Damaged Equipment

Flooding can cause many different types of damage to equipment. Electrical wiring or equipment that was flooded or exposed to water must be appropriately tested before energized. If your home had flooding damage, electricity is turned off to the property until inspectors can make sure the home is safe. We do this to prevent electric shock and fires.

Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment (pdf)

Avoiding Disaster Scams

Unfortunately, scammers often come out after natural disaster. The Attorney General’s office has warned North Carolinians about home repair fraud, charity scams and price gouging.

Storm-related scams should be reported to the Attorney General’s Office at or 1-877-566-7226 (919-716-6000 if calling from an out-of-state number). If you suspect that someone who shows up at your home is trying to commit fraud, call local law enforcement immediately.

Food & Shelter Resources

Wilson-area residents that need resources with food, shelter or clothing can contact Renee Smith, Human Relations Director, at 252-399-2309 or