The first step to clean-up is to get rid of anything that’s destroyed or can’t be saved. Remember to take pictures of everything from different angles so you can make an insurance claim. Some heirlooms and paperwork can be saved. Visit https://go.usa.gov/xhZWw for more information. FEMA and the Commonwealth recommend sorting the flood damaged materials into categories for safety and efficient collection.
Here are the six piles you’ll need. You don’t want to touch things twice:
- Electronics: These have parts that may be dangerous, and some parts that may be able to be recycled.
- Appliances: Some have gases or other parts that need special handling. (Appliances are sometimes called White Goods.)
- Hazardous material: Waste with properties that make it potentially harmful to human health or the environment. This includes household cleaners, lawn and garden chemicals, motor oil, etc.
- Vegetative material: This includes tree limbs and branches. Much of this can be burned or ground up and given back to the community as mulch. These measures reduce the amount of waste going into a landfill by 75-95 percent.
- Construction material: Damaged pieces of buildings and structures – wood, glass, metal, roofing material, tile, carpeting, concrete, equipment.
- Household garbage: Almost all foodstuff from a home will have spoiled without refrigeration.
The Commonwealth asks that you please not place debris near or on trees, poles, mailboxes, fire hydrants, utility boxes or other structures as it makes removal difficult. Normal household waste, recyclables and bagged debris of any kind will not be collected. If you are unsure where to place debris, you should place storm debris at the edge of your property before the curb. Make sure you don’t block the roadway or storm drains.
Report debris that needs to be picked up on roadways and waterways by calling the Debris Hotline at 855-336-2337. Pickups will occur in the following counties: Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Martin, Owsley, Perry and Pike.
For your personal safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends that you wear protective gear such as rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles, while handling debris, since floodwaters can carry dangerous germs from sewage, agricultural or industrial waste. To learn more about safely cleaning up after a disaster visit https://go.usa.gov/xhZZm.