Two weeks and two days after the deadly twisters took the lives of nine area residents and destroyed or badly damaged more than 500 homes, storm debris removal — whose costs are mostly being absorbed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the auspices of the Disaster Declaration — was scheduled to begin in earnest today.
The cleanup operation is expected to continue for several weeks.
According to announcements by Troy Spence, director of the Bradley-Cleveland Emergency Management Agency, and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, subcontracted trucks operating through True North Emergency Management, and Unified, were scheduled to roll this afternoon into some of the county’s most devastated neighborhoods.
Multiple trucks are simultaneously hauling most types of storm debris; however, area residents are cautioned to follow FEMA guidelines in piling debris by separating it into vegetative, construction and demolition debris, white goods, household hazardous waste, and small debris or storm-related garbage that are bagged for pick-up.
“There will be at least two passes made in order to give residents adequate time to place debris on the right-of-way for removal,” according to a joint statement between the county mayor’s office and the local EMA office.
Specific examples of debris in each category include:
n Vegetative: Whole trees, tree stumps, branches, trunks and other leafy material.
n Construction & 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.
n 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.
n Household Hazardous Waste: Unused containers of cleaners, corrosives, flammable products and paint, among others.
Residents are reminded not to place debris in drainage ditches, around utility guide wires or fire hydrants. Debris must be placed on regularly maintained right-of-way because FEMA contractors and subcontractors cannot enter private property to remove debris for any reason.
FEMA-authorized removal of storm debris is free of charge to the residents provided that placement and sorting guidelines are followed.
Residents who need assistance moving debris to the right-of-way are encouraged to contact the Bradley Baptist Association at 423-476-5493 which continues to offer a volunteer service. Volunteers are available to assist at no charge Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents needing help are urged to call as soon as possible because the Baptist Association’s service is scheduled to phase out Friday, May 20.
Landfill To Extend
For those area residents wishing to haul away their own debris (for personal use), the Bradley County Landfill will begin extended hours Monday, May 16. Extended hours will be 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Burning Brush Debris
Allowed In County
Bradley County residents who live outside the Cleveland city limits are reminded they are allowed to burn brush debris (vegetative material like trees, limbs, stumps and other leafy materials, among others) provided they can do it safely and in a large enough area on their property. Burning permits will not be required during the storm cleanup period.
for Temporary Housing
At least 500 Bradley County families, and perhaps more, are being housed temporarily in area hotels and homes of relatives or friends, and other locations.
Because of the need for more traditional housing until homes are repaired or rebuilt, the Bradley County mayor’s office reminds all affected residents that a list of available rental properties is available for displaced families. The list can be found by visiting www.bradleyco.net and clicking the “Available Rental Property Information” icon to see a spreadsheet of options.
Anyone who has rental property available, and who would like to have it included in the county listing, should contact the county mayor’s office at 423-728-7146.
Accepted, But Call First
Anyone wishing to donate items to the relief efforts in Bradley County should first call the Bradley County Resource Staging Center at 423-559-5531 to find out what is needed. Calls can be made between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center will provide information on dropoff locations. The main donation warehouse is located behind White Wing Publishing at 3750 Keith Street.
Operate at Barney Lane
A consolidated distribution center (the Barney Lane site) is located off 20th Street at Michigan Avenue. This center, which was merged Thursday with the Peerless Road Church of God of Prophecy site, is providing disaster victims with nonperishable foods, commodities, toiletries and household items. It is operating Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The local EMA office has formed an Unmet Needs Committee to assess remaining community needs and to determine how best to address them. Residents who are aware of any unmet community needs are asked to contact the Unmet Needs Hotline at 423-464-1849 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Disaster Relief Fund
The Mayors’ Coalition has established a consolidated Cleveland/Bradley County Disaster Relief Fund which is where monetary donations to Bradley County disaster relief can be sent. The fund’s website can accept electronic donations through PayPal. It can be accessed at www.bradleydisasterrrelief.org or call 423-716-1844 for more information. Funds will be funneled through United Way of Bradley County for accountability and allocated for unmet needs of disaster victims.
The Salvation Army continues to offer assistance with volunteer coordination. Anyone wishing to volunteer individually or who would like to form a group of volunteers to work at any of the collaborative sites is encouraged to call 423-308-3467.
Not only is the Bradley Baptist Association assisting with debris removal to property rights-of-way, it is still operating volunteer chainsaw crews. Those needing this type of assistance, or who need a tarp for damaged roofs, should contact the BBA at 423-476-5493. Volunteers are available at no charge Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This service is scheduled to phase out Friday, May 20.
in Saturday Session
The April 27 tornadoes took a heavy emotional toll on many Bradley County residents. Those wishing free counseling assistance have the second of two free sessions available. The first was held Thursday night, but another is scheduled Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland on Third Street. For more information contact 423-400-6428.
Bradley County residents whose homes were damaged, regardless of insurance status, are urged to contact the FEMA Disaster Relief Center at 10 Church St. (the former First Tennessee Bank building at the corner of Church and Inman streets in downtown Cleveland) to determine eligibility for federal assistance under the Disaster Declaration.
Residents are encouraged to pre-register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov. The DRC is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Representatives from the Department of Human Services are also available to assist with food stamps and other family aid.