OREGON COUNTY -- Nearly a month after the severe ice storm hit southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, local residents are still dealing with debris removal. FEMA Public Information Officer Mike Wade was in Oregon County last week talking about debris removal.
"Debris removal efforts should be proceeded with caution. Trees may have broken limbs lodged in the branches which could fall at anytime. Help for the elderly or persons in need, is available. We offer tips on clearing debris," he said.
Wade gave the following tips to remember during the recovery process:
* Make sure debris piles do not block right-of-way, obstruct fire hydrants or utility meters. Blocking drains and ditches can cause flooding.
* Senior citizens and those physically unable should contact their local government or call 211 to reach the United Way.
* Emergency responders urge residents, business owners and contractors to watch out for falling limbs broken by the weight of ice treetops.
* Keep children away from debris piles. The piles may contain broken glass, nails, jagged wood or sharp edges. Debris piles may also contain rodents and insects.
* If limbs or debris are too large, property owners may need to hire a debris removal contractor. Residents need to check with their insurance company on whether debris removal is covered.
* Move vehicles away from debris piles. This will make it easier for equipment operators picking up material, and reduce the possibility of damaging vehicles.
* Be suspicious of any contractor who says, or presents literature indicating they have been endorsed by FEMA or any other governmental agency. FEMA does not endorse individuals or contractors for debris removal.