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FEMA offers advice for sorting debris, warns of scams after storm damage – Bowling Green Daily News

FEMA offers advice for sorting debris, warns of scams after storm damage  Bowling Green Daily News

Bowling Green and Warren County residents left with a mess of debris to clean up after a band of tornadoes swept through the area should follow instructions from local officials about sorting and placing materials curbside for pickup.

That’s the major takeaway from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which advises avoiding placing debris on or near downed power lines or close to utility boxes. Residents should also make sure debris isn’t blocking roads and not on or near trees, poles or other structures, since it makes removal difficult. This includes fire hydrants and meters, the agency said in a storm debris removal fact sheet distributed to the media.

No one has to pay for storm debris removal, since the city and county government will have a contractor remove all of it, provided it’s sorted correctly.

“If you get it to the curb, our contractor will take it from there,” Warren County government posted on its Facebook page.

All debris should be placed curbside and separated based on the following categories: appliances and white goods (i.e. air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and water heaters), vegetative debris (leaves not in bags, logs, plants, tree branches) and construction and demolition debris (building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses and plumbing).

Regular household garbage should be bagged and trashed as usual. Bagged trash cannot be picked up with disaster debris.

Once properly sorted, residents should call a local debris collection hotline at 270-296-1383.

As Bowling Green and Warren County dig out from the rubble, FEMA is also urging the public to be wise to scams.

“Survivors should be aware that con artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft after a disaster. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors,” the agency said in a news release.

Residents in the designated counties can apply online at disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA mobile app.

If a FEMA inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA relief application, your information may have been used without your knowledge. In that case, residents should inform the inspector that they did not apply for FEMA assistance and submit a request to stop it from moving forward.

If residents receive a letter from FEMA without applying for assistance, FEMA asks that they call a special helpline at 800-621-3362 to stop any further processing of that application. The helpline can also assist with creating a new, non-fraudulent claim.

FEMA workers carry official identification badges with photo IDs. FEMA and Small Business Administration representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help filling out applications.

Never believe anyone who promises relief in exchange for payment, the agency said.

Be alert to unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or employees of the federal agency. A FEMA representative will have a photo ID and your application number.

The agency also advises against submitting your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector.

“FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information,” the agency said.

When conducting a home inspection, FEMA will contact you to meet at the address where the damage was reported. You or your designated co-applicant identified on your registration will need to meet with an inspector and provide a photo ID. The meeting will take place outside with the inspector following social distancing guidelines, FEMA said in a news release.

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