By Stephen K. Peeples
After touring wildfire damage in Southern California on Tuesday with Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nñez said the Assembly was launching a special Web site with emergency services information and assistance opportunities regarding the Southern California wildfires.
The site is democrats.assembly.ca.gov/wildfires/.
“All Californians affected by these fires can be assured that the Assembly will help provide the tools and resources necessary to both respond and rebuild,” Nñez, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement.
“In the meantime, the Assembly is working to provide the countless Californians looking to help with information on how and where to donate or otherwise volunteer to assist those affected. We’re hoping the information on this Web site will be another useful resource for constituents impacted by and concerned about these devastating fires.”
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth told The Signal the state’s Office of Emergency Services has opened several assistance centers in Southern California, and plans to open more.
“The most local to the Santa Clarita area will open Friday at the Sports Complex in Castaic,” he said.
Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, also warned fire victims to beware of fraud. “You get (insurance) people going to homes and shelters saying, ‘You can work with us, we’ll help you,’ but those offers should be checked out. Anyone who’s preparing a claim can work through the state Department of Insurance and Claims Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to verify the agency offering help is legitimate.”
The state also has opportunities for citizens who would like to volunteer at www.californiavolunteers.org or (888) 567-SERV; or make donations at www.oes.ca.gov or (800) 750-2858 to assist fire victims.