OREGON COUNTY/MAMMOTH SPRING -- A rumor that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) is hiring contractors to remove ice storm debris from private citizens or business property in Missouri and northern Arkansas is false.
According to Michael Wade with FEMA, neither FEMA or the state will reimburse private citizens for expenses incurred in removing debris from private property.
Some independent waste haulers are hiring workers to help in the clean up.
The state and federal government do not recommend or endorse any particular or specific contractor. "Property owners should be suspicious of any contractor who says, or presents literature, saying that they are working for or endorsed by any government agency," he said.
Senior citizens or those who are physically unable to remove the debris to the curb should contact United Way 211. The United Way 211 in Missouri is coordinating the volunteer groups to help the elderly and special needs citizens move debris from their property and transport it to the curb/public right of way to be picked up by their city. They may also help people who are on a fixed income and unable to afford to hire debris removal services.
Wade said to assist the ongoing effort to remove debris, state and federal specialists want people to know:
* Before hiring anyone, they should check with their insurance company to find out if their policy covers debris removal.
* Municipal, county, state and federal agencies are not authorized to remove debris from private property except in a situation where debris is deemed to pose an extraordinary threat to human health and safety.
* Property owners should make sure their debris piles do not block the right-of-way; obstruct mailboxes, fire hydrants or utility meters; or block drains which could result in flooding.