Submitted by Linda Breazeale, PIO for Winston EMA
Winston County officials are receiving reports of problems with the ongoing debris removal from property throughout the tornado damaged area.
Residents are being warned of issues connected to insurance claims and safety concerns related to debris piles.
Clarence Kelley, safety officer at the Winston County Emergency Operations Center, said volunteers and residents need to use caution when piling large amounts of debris near intersections.
“Debris needs to be within 10 feet of the road, but make sure there is plenty of visibility for vehicles entering the road or intersection,” he said. “We also need to be sure fire hydrants and other utility boxes are accessible and not covered.”
Kelley said “leaners and hangers” are additional concerns for workers.
“Be aware of what is overhead. Some debris is at risk of falling at any time and even moving ground debris could cause more to fall,” he said.
Insured homeowners need to understand their coverage. If policies will pay for debris removal, paying independent contractors could result in additional and uncovered expenses.
If a property owner hires someone to remove storm debris, the contractor needs to haul the debris to an appropriate disposal site and not just move it to the right of way. On the other hand, volunteers can move storm debris to curbside or the right of way to be picked up by the local government.
Officials are asking debris to be sorted at the curbside in six separate piles or categories. They are:
Vegetative debris including tree branches, leaves and logs;
Construction debris such as drywall, lumber, carpet, furniture and plumbing;
Household garbage such as food, paper, packaging and bagged garbage;
Large appliances including refrigerators, washers/dryers, air conditioners and stoves;
Electronics including televisions, computers, stereos, phones and DVD players; and
Hazardous wastes such as oil, batteries, pesticide, paint, cleaning supplies and compressed gas.