FEMA: Dispose debris safely

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Flood-damaged items like carpeting, bedding, furniture and other household items can be serious health hazards as well as eyesores. It’s never too early for Louisiana disaster survivors to get rid of these items and start rebuilding their lives.                        

Here are some tips for disaster survivors to dispose of flooded items safely and speed up removal:

  • Speak with your insurance adjustor and ask if you’re allowed to begin throwing out flooded debris. If your adjuster says it’s OK, be sure to take lots of pictures to document the damage before you start cleaning up.
  • Also, be sure to consult with your local officials for instructions before setting out debris. If you don’t have local emergency management contact information, it can be found online at gohsep.la.gov/about/parishpa.
  • Place debris curbside. Debris cannot be collected on private property.
  • Do not prop up debris against trees and utility poles or place in the vicinity of fire hydrants and utility boxes. That makes it more difficult for cleanup crews to collect.
  • Debris should be separated into the following six categories:
    • Household garbage such as discarded food, packaging and papers.
    • Construction debris such as building materials, carpeting, furniture and mattresses.
    • Vegetation debris such as tree branches and leaves.
    • Household hazardous waste such as batteries, paints and cleaning supplies.
    • White goods such as refrigerators, washers/dryers, water heaters and air conditioners.
    • Electronics such as televisions, stereo equipment and computers.
  • Other tips to speed up debris collection include:
    • Try to combine debris piles with your neighbors.
    • Secure refrigerator and freezer doors with duct tape.
    • Limit curbside household garbage to two 32-gallon containers or eight trash bags.

We urge everyone to continue to use caution in areas where floodwaters remain. Monitor DOTD’s www.511la.org website for updated road closure information. Look for advisories from your local authorities and emergency managers. You can find the latest information on the state’s response at www.emergency.la.gov. GOHSEP also provides information on Facebook and Twitter. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App.  It is free for basic service.  You can also download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion6 and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800)877-8339.