Don’t get burned twice


By Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and

Supervisor Bill Horn

Sadly, this is not the first time we have helped our constituents rebuild their homes and lives in the wake of horrible tragedy. We have learned from the experiences of the Cedar and Paradise Fires in 2003. We want to let the citizens of San Diego County know there’s a safer and better way to make it through this difficult recovery process.

First, we suggest fire victims visit the County’s Firestorm 2007 Recovery Web site at This comprehensive site puts essential information at your finger tips.

Despite wanting to clear your land of debris; insurance claims must be filed first or assistance could be jeopardized. This includes homes with minor flame or smoke damage.

Typically, insurance companies will deploy an adjuster to survey the property and take an itemized inventory of your land. For residents who live in unincorporated areas, clearance must be received from a County Damage Assessment Team.

To aid in the recovery efforts, the County Board of Supervisors took action this week to declare a state of emergency. This action triggered a release of funding to aid land clearance, property tax relief, property tax payment deferrals, and the waiving of building permit fees.

Detailed information about these services is listed on the Firestorm 2007 Recovery Web site as well as at Local Assistance Centers (LAC), in Rancho Bernardo, Fallbrook, Ramona and El Cajon. These LAC’s are open seven days a week to help you.

Please, be cautious of companies offering to clear your land for an up-front “fee.” Other scams can include price-gouging and fraudulent charitable solicitations.

Insurance fraud can be another hurdle for fire victims. The State Insurance Department encourages people to file claims so they can investigate companies suspected of fraud. For all insurance related inquiries, please call the State Department of Insurance consumer hotline at 1-800-297-HELP.

We know this process can be daunting. However, before the County of San Diego can make all resources available to help you get back on your feet, you must take the appropriate steps. If you need help cutting through red tape or figuring out your next step, our staffs are available to assist you. If you live in a city, we will direct you to the proper jurisdiction. As a resident of the city, you may also own property in the unincorporated area. Contact our staff for a list of the myriad of services the county provides.

We understand the desire to get your life and home rebuilt. However, please take the proper precautions so that you can rebuild and recover as quickly as possible

Supervisor Pam Slater-Price represents the Third District, and Supervisor Bill Horn represents the Fifth District. Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said during the 2003 fires she noted that many residents of La Jolla spoke up at a La Jolla Town Council meeting to let her know that they owned property or homes in the backcountry and were interested in county services.