Cleveland and Bradley County governments earlier this week signed debris-removal contracts with True North Emergency Management and Unified, who are scheduled to work with subcontractors to complete the massive cleanup.
In a related development, Bradley County Landfill hours have been extended to local residents (for personal use) who wish to transport their own debris. Beginning Monday, May 16, landfill hours will be extended, operating from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“Disaster debris removal will begin in several areas simultaneously,” according to a Wednesday news release distributed by Dan Howell, executive assistant to the county mayor. “There will be at least two passes made in order to give residents adequate time to place debris on right of way for removal.”
County residents living outside the Cleveland city limits are also reminded they may burn their vegetative storm debris (trees, limbs, leafy materials only) if they have access to an area that is large enough and safe. Cleveland residents are not allowed to burn inside the city limits.
Area residents choosing to use the contracted debris removal process are cautioned to follow specific guidelines to assure that Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations for debris removal are met. Following these guidelines will also assure that residential debris meets FEMA standards for free removal.
Specific guidelines and instructions to residents include:
- Move all debris to the regularly maintained right of way of the homeowner’s property. Contractors cannot enter private property to remove debris for any reason.
- Those who do not have insurance and need assistance moving debris to the right of way should contact the Bradley Baptist Association at 423-476-5493 to request volunteer services.
- All debris should be sorted according to specifications. These categories include:
— Vegetative: Whole trees, tree stumps, branches, trunks and other leafy material.
— Construction and Demolition Debris: Damaged components of buildings and structures such as lumber, wood, drywall, metal, roofing material, metal, tile, carpeting, floor covering, windows, pipe, furniture and fixtures.
— White Goods: Household appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters; discarded propane tanks will be accepted but must be placed in a separate, distinguishable area.
— Household Hazardous Waste: Unused containers of cleaners, corrosives, flammable products and paints, among others.
— Small Debris and Storm-Related Garbage: Bagged for pick-up.
- Do not place debris in drainage ditches, around utility guide wires or fire hydrants.
In Wednesday’s announcements, Spence issued several reminders and updates about the community recovery, one of which is the process for making material or product donations.
“If you wish to donate items to the relief efforts in Bradley County, please call first for a list of what’s needed,” Spence said. “The number for the Bradley County Resource Staging Center is 423-559-5531. You can call between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The center is keeping track of needed items. The center will also provide you with the locations of the drop-off locations. The main donation warehouse for this area is located behind White Wing Publishing at 3750 Keith St. in Cleveland.”
Spence pointed out a previously operating distribution center at the Peerless Road Church of God of Prophecy was scheduled to shut down today at noon. It is being consolidated with the distribution center located at 2960 Barney’s Lane. The Barney Lane location is housed off 20th Street at Michigan Avenue. The center is providing disaster victims with nonperishable foods, commodities, toiletries and household items. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Additional announcements and reminders by the EMA office include:
- EMA has formed an Unmet Needs Committee that is working to assess community needs and deciding how to meet those needs. Residents who are aware of unmet needs in the community are asked to call the Unmet Needs Hotline at 423-464-1849 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- The Mayors’ Coalition has established a Cleveland/Bradley County Disaster Relief Fund. The fund’s website can accept electronic donations through PayPal beginning today (Thursday, May 12). Donors may visit www.bradleydisasterrelief.org or call 423-716-1844 for more information. These donated funds will be funneled through United Way of Bradley County for accountability and they will be used to assist with unmet needs of disaster victims.
- The Salvation Army continues to offer assistance with volunteer coordination. Those wishing to volunteer individually or who would like to form a group of volunteers at any of the sites involved in the collaborative community effort should call 423-308-3467.
- The Bradley Baptist Association continues to respond to victims who need help with tree and brush cleanup. Any local community resident who needs a chainsaw crew or a tarp for a storm-damaged roof should call the BBA at 423-476-5493. Volunteers are available daily at no charge. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents are urged to call soon because this service is scheduled to be phased out on Friday, May 20.
- Because the April 27 tornadoes are likely taking a physical and emotional toll on many Bradley County residents, qualified volunteer caregivers are holding two free sessions to help disaster victims process their emotional trauma. The first meeting is scheduled today (Thursday, May 12) from 4 to 7 p.m. at Arnold Elementary School) and the second meeting is Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland. For more information, call 423-400-6428.
- Residents whose homes were damaged, regardless of insurance status, are urged to contact the FEMA Disaster Relief Center at 10 Church St. to determine eligibility for assistance under the Disaster Declaration. Residents are encouraged to pre-register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or go online to www.disasterassistance.gov. The DRC is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Representatives from the Department of Human Services will also be available to assist with food stamps and other aid.
- To see an interactive map displaying a satellite view of damage caused by the tornadoes, residents may visit maps.bradleygis.net/tornado.