Debris is the garbage in the aftermath of a major storm – and it is often takes months to collect and dispose of which means a huge cost to property owners and government offices. Last year, Hurricane Matthew left Brevard County with 820,854 cubic yards of storm degree that took two months to clear and $12 million. According to contractors, the debris was mostly vegetation, fencing, and construction materials.
Like private property owners, the government was not prepared for this cost and had to do some legal creative accounting to pay for the cost. Private property owners are not as lucky. They have to either wait for their insurance claims to come through or pay out-of-pocket for the clean-up operations in their homes. Some private individuals are lucky because their local officials step in and help them; others are not as lucky.
In some places in Brevard, there is still debris as of May this year with no end in sight for homeowners, Edward and Suzanne Remeika as county officials are passing the responsibility to the state.
Other homeowners worry about the health hazard with just cause because the garbage can hold stagnant water or be breeding ground for pests.
Here are some ways you can prevent storm debris from affecting your lives months after the storm has passed:
- Install storm screens because quite a bit of the debris comes from broken or damaged furniture and after strong winds break down part of the house’s structure. If you can protect the structure of your home so the interior is protected, you have less to worry about after the storm.
- Trim trees before hurricane season as this will lessen the chances of branches breaking off and scattering all over the neighborhood. Get the entire street to join you in a trim the trees program and protect each other.
- Keep all outdoor furniture tied down or bring them inside temporarily
- Strap down your roof, trees, plants, and fences
- Consider investing in hurricane screens as this will lower the chances of glass breakage
- Have a professional check your roof: condition, materials used and whether these materials are likely to come out during a storm, and necessary repairs. A roof should be inspected every 10 years by a professional especially for homes in the hurricane-prone states.
Just make sure that when you contract anyone to handle the repairs or renovations for your property, you have a detailed job order, a schedule, estimated date of completion and are required to pay only a deposit or fraction of the cost prior to the start of the job.