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Caution is Key when removing Hurricane Debris



FEMA/VDEM News Desk - (804) 217-8952 - NR # 42 & #43 DR-1491-VA
Colleen M. Hiam, SBA - (716) 282-4612 ext. 202



RICHMOND,VA - Federal and state recovery officials encourage residents to be cautious when removing storm debris from homes and roadways. The rubbish may contain any number of dangerous items.


Debris removal and disaster recovery go hand in hand. Property owners will want to make sure debris doesn't block storm drains, fireplugs, right-of-ways, or pedestrian traffic. They will also want to check with their local jurisdictions regarding debris removal schedules and guidelines.


Here are some safety guidelines to follow:

  • Keep children away from debris piles. They can be full of broken items, glass, nails, jagged wood, and other sharp items. Children can easily get injured playing in, around, or on trash heaps. The debris may also contain rodents or bugs, raising the possibility of nasty bites.
  • Watch children carefully when heavy equipment is in the area and debris removal operations are taking place. Small children may not be easily seen by equipment operators.
  • Move your car from the debris pile area. This will make it easier for the equipment operator to pick up the materials and will reduce the possibility of damage to your vehicle.
  • Drive carefully when behind debris-loaded trucks. Materials can easily fly out causing an accident or driving hazard. Leave a safe distance between your car and the truck.
  • Keep all open flames and lit cigarettes away from debris piles as they may contain flammable materials.


On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.


More disaster information is available on the Internet at or SBA information at Information is available also through the FEMA 24-hour fax-on-demand service by calling 202-646-FEMA.


The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also has an Internet site at


Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability or economic status. Anyone who believes he or she has been discriminated against should contact the federal or state coordinating officer.



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