It began Monday.
As in the first stage, we remind impacted residents — thousands of you — that strict adherence to Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines must be followed in order to be eligible to have storm-related debris removed.
We will discuss those later in this editorial.
But first, it is just as important that residents understand the second pass of the massive cleanup is being made to accommodate residents who might not have had time to get all their storm-related debris relocated to the nearest right-of-way or who had such a large volume that it exceeded right-of-way limitations.
Families might also have faced delays due to hardships like personal injuries to household members — or even more tragically, the sad loss of loved ones — or perhaps other legitimate reasons like insurance complications, extended time out of town or personal trauma.
Each is understandable.
All are accepted in such troubling times.
These reminders have been well-documented in past editions of our newspaper, but they will always bear repeating for as long as our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown continues in its painful and painstaking recovery.
In your property cleanup, please remember:
- Move all debris to the regularly maintained right-of-way of your property; contractors cannot enter private property to remove debris for any reason.
- If you do not have insurance and need assistance moving debris to the right-of-way, contact the Bradley Baptist Association at 423-476-5493.
- All debris should be sorted according to the following specifications: vegetative (trees, stumps, branches, trunks, leafy material); construction and demolition (structural, building materials); white goods (appliances); household wastes (cleaners, corrosives, paint and flammable products); and small debris bagged for pick-up (shingles, insulation but not household garbage or food).
- Do not place debris in drainage ditches, around utility guide wires or fire hydrants.
- Residents who are insured should verify that their privately hired contractors are taking responsibility for the removal of their demolition debris or reconstruction scrap materials. Insured demolition debris and reconstruction scrap materials should not be placed on the right-of-way for any reason because such materials are not eligible for removal under the FEMA-coordinated disaster cleanup initiative.
The Cleveland-Bradley Emergency Management Agency also offers a few additional tips:
- In some cases, residents who were unaffected by the storms are placing “spring-cleaning” items by the curb for recovery crews to pick up. This should not be done because Unified Recovery Group is contracted to remove only storm debris and brush.
- Businesses and all rental property, including homes, duplexes, mobile homes and apartments do not qualify for removal of storm brush and debris under FEMA guidelines.
- Residents who did not qualify for FEMA assistance are encouraged to return to the Disaster Recovery Center at 10 Church St. to apply for assistance through the Small Business Administration.
- The FEMA center continues to operate in downtown Cleveland through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In spite of the overwhelming odds and in the face of an unprecedented terror, Bradley County and its proud residents continue to stand tall on this day.
We urge perseverance.
We applaud the can-do attitude that has graced our hometown since April 27 — our community’s own date which will live in infamy.