FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 9, 2022) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors in Fort Myers, Florida, installed the first temporary ‘Blue Roof’ the first home from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
“This storm was devastating, “said Fort Myers, Florida resident Barbara Powell-Wring. “I’ve been through three storms and this one was the worst I’ve ever saw and I want to thank everyone that was involved in helping me today, I thank God for you all.”
Just a week ago, when Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida, she wasn’t even sure she would have a roof as she could hear the heavy winds pounding and it sounded as the roof tearing off. Hurricane Ian, with strong winds and rain caused people to evacuate and flee their homes.
“This was the worst storm I’ve ever saw, my heart goes out to people that lost loved ones, this damage sustained was more than many were expecting,” said Powell-Wring.
The Power-Wring family’s roof was severely damaged and is the first person to receive one of what will soon be thousands of blue roofs to be installed in badly damaged Fort Myers. The roof was badly damaged but they still consider themselves lucky. Powell-Wring has lived in Fort Myers for 27 years and says Hurricane Ian was just terrible.
She said her daughter learned about the Blue Roof program on television by a local news station and quickly went online and signed up.
The free assistance program to homeowners is called Operation Blue Roof, which is a primary mission program managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency, reduces further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made.
"Today's installation of the first Blue Roof is significant. It marks the start of the FEMA's and Army Corps' push to get temporary roofs on eligible storm-damaged houses in this area," said Col. James L. Booth, Commander, Jacksonville District.
The purpose of the program is to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber reinforced sheeting to cover damaged roofs until permanent repairs can be made.
“This is a great program and it provides people with a sense of security if it rains and keeping animals out of their house until they can be permanently fixed,” said Ben Bremer, U.S. Army Corps resident engineer.
About Operation Blue Roof
• Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for FEMA. The goal of the Blue Roof program is to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced, industrial-strength sheeting to protect storm-damaged roofs until homeowners can make permanent repairs.
• This program is a NO COST service for homeowners. Operation Blue Roof is designed to protect property, reduces temporary housing costs, and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from the storm.
• The Blue Roof program is for primary residences, or a permanently occupied rental property with less than 50 percent of roof structure damage, to ensure the safe installation of the blue roof. Before installing a blue roof, the resident must certify property ownership and verify someone will occupy it after installation. The home must have been rendered structurally sound. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for this program. Flat roofs, roofs made of clay, slate, or asbestos tile do not qualify for the Blue Roof program.
• The deadline to sign up for the Blue Roof program is October 23, 2022.
About the Blue Roof Process:
• Following a disaster, FEMA assigns the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the task to activate Operation Blue Roof
• A resident begins by submitting a Right of Entry (ROE) request through the blueroof.us website or calling 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).
• Once an ROE is received, a USACE employee will conduct an assessment. The inspection may be completed virtually or in person. Remote reviews provide the same high-quality assessment as those done in person.
• In support of Operation Blue Roof, USACE mobilizes response teams, including contractors and Quality Assurance representatives, and ensures plastic sheeting is available to perform installations.
• Training is conducted for Quality Assurance representatives to ensure consistent quality delivery of the service.
• Installations can be affected by inclement weather that creates conditions that are unsafe for contractors and USACE personnel. Hazardous factors can include rain, wind, or lightning. Installations resume as soon as possible after conditions improve.
• On the day of your installation, teams will bring all required equipment and supplies to your house. The Blue Roof installation is intended to protect the roof from additional weather damage for a minimum of 30 days from installation. While they are not warrantied, they have lasted longer and stayed intact in tropical-storm-force winds.
• The team will not contact you before arriving at your residence. The ROE provides authority for the installation to occur without the resident being present.
• Quality Assurance and Quality Control representatives confirm the proper installation of the Blue Roof and inform contractors of any necessary corrections.
"Every home is equally important. But you can't get to 30,000 without starting with one," said Booth.
Questions & Answers:
Q: What happens after I submit my request?
A: After submitting your Rights of Entry or ROE request, the entry will go into the Blue Roof Management System. Once in the system, the ROE generates a work order, which the installation contractor receives to install a Blue Roof on a home. However, multiple variables can impact the timeline from application to the program to installation. It’s also important to note, requests are processed in the order they are received.
Q: Why do I need to fill out the Rights of Entry request? Why can’t I just request someone come out a put a tarp on my roof?
A: Homeowners need to fill out the ROE because it gives the USACE’s contractor the right to enter your yard and get on your roof to install the temporary roofs. The owner is not providing rights to enter your home. Requests are processed in the order they are received. Once your request is processed through, a crew will arrive, possibly without notice; however, the ROE allows the crew access to the property without the homeowner/residents being present.
Q: How do I check the status of my application once submitted?
A: To check on the status of, modify, cancel your blue roof, or find the status of your Right of Entry (ROE), please contact the Blue Roof Call Center (888) 766-3258. Please have your Right of Entry (ROE) number available to verify your status.
Q: Why does it take so long for someone to come out and do the installation after making the request?
A: We understand that you want your roof secured as soon as possible. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works closely with local, state, and federal partners and our contractors to provide this service as safely and expeditiously as possible. It’s important to know there are tens of thousands of requests that have been submitted, and more are being submitted every day. This process will take weeks, if not months to complete.
Q: How long will it be before my Blue Roof gets installed?
A: We cannot accurately give you a timeline because installs are dependent on multiple factors, including when you submitted your application, the availability of installation crews, material availability, and weather. However, the Corps will install as many roofs as possible, as quickly as possible in the safest timeframe. We understand the sense of urgency being felt, but please be patient. Contractors are working as quickly and safely as possible.
Q: What happens if it rains or storms while I am waiting?
A: Unfortunately, rain, wind, lightning, and other severe weather will delay the installations of roofs. However, as soon as conditions improves contractors will start installation again. It is the USACE goal, to get all the eligible roofs completed as safely and quickly as possible.
Q: How come I can’t get the installation during the rain?
A: Safety is always our top priority. Installations can be affected by inclement weather when conditions are unsafe for contractors and USACE personnel. Dangerous factors can include rain, wind, lightning, and any other conditions that could impact safety during the installation. Installations will resume as soon as possible after conditions improve.
Q: How long will a Blue Roof last?
A: The plastic sheeting used in a Blue Roof install is a reinforced, water-proof material intended to protect your home for at least 30 days.
Q: How do counties get added to the Blue Roof program?
A: USACE does not determine which counties are eligible. That determination is made at the state level.
Q: Who do I contact if I believe someone is a scammer or committing fraud?
A: To report scams, fraud and identity-theft contact: FEMA’s toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
Florida Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division, Fraud Hotline 1-866-966-7226 or local law-enforcement agencies.
Q: What number do I call if I sustain damages from the installation of the Blue Roof?
A: Please call 888-766-3258.
Q: What should I do if I have damages?
A: Start documenting with pictures or video. If at all possible, establish a timeline when the damages occur and continue to document with pictures and /or video.
Q: How will future storms impact the Blue Roof mission?
A: Any future tropical disturbance events could impact the speed of the Blue Roof mission. It’s important for residents to understand that severe weather and/or dangerous conditions including wind, rain and lightning will delay installations. Installations will resume as soon as possible after conditions improve.
Q: What am I supposed to do in the meantime while I wait for the Blue Roof to be installed and it continues to rain?
A: We understand the sense of urgency in getting your Blue Roof installed. FEMA has ‘self-help’ tarps available that are also free of charge.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District on the district’s website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.