ORLANDO, Fla. -- State and federal recovery officials remind private property owners with disaster-related debris it is the responsibility of the property owner to move it to curbside for pickup. Certain types of debris may be hazardous, and should not be handled by private property owners.
If suspected hazardous debris material is found on private property, the property owner should immediately call the local 911 system so a local hazardous material handling team can determine if the debris is a hazard to public health and safety. If the suspect debris is determined a health threat, the government may remove it.
For individuals with special needs who may need help with tornado debris on their property, volunteer organizations such as Christian Contractors Association, (866)540-2325 or www.ccaministry.org, may be able to help with debris removal.
Property owners may be able to get assistance for debris removal from their insurance company or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Certain types of debris may be hazardous, and should not be handled by private property owners.
Residents should be aware it is not unusual for haulers to claim a tie to federal or state agencies to obtain debris-removal jobs from homeowners. In fact, neither FEMA nor SERT qualify, certify or approve individual contractors for debris removal.
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) provide reimbursement on an agreed cost-share basis for debris removal cost from public property, including public rights-of-way under the Public Assistance (PA) program.
Under the Feb. 3 federal disaster declaration Sumter, Lake, Seminole and Volusia counties are eligible to apply for PA reimbursement.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.