2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday June 1st-7th Item List
Family Disaster Supply Kit
Family Disaster Supply Kit
Waste Management of Florida Ready for 2018 Hurricane Season
Bagster® Service Available for On-Demand Hurricane Debris
Removal and Disposal
Okeechobee, Fla. — It’s the type of service you rarely think about until it’s truly needed. Much like electricity for your home or gasoline in your vehicle, most Florida residents may take their garbage or recycling collection for granted under ordinary daily circumstances.
“Following a powerful hurricane, one of the most essential needs for a community to begin recovery is the reliable return of its most vital services,” said Dawn McCormick, Community Affairs Director for Waste Management Inc. of Florida. “That’s why we spend a lot of time in the weeks and months prior to the start of hurricane season focusing within our company on annual hurricane preparation and recovery planning.”
The company also issues public advisories to residents and businesses about storm preparation. This information includes:
- Trim your trees, hedges and other landscaping now. Do not wait for the approach of a major storm.
- Clean out your garage and storage areas at home now and donate your unneeded items or discard them. Do not wait for the approach of a major storm.
AT LEAST THREE DAYS BEFORE THE APPROACH OF A MAJOR STORM:
- Secure garbage and recycling containers. Place empty containers in a secure location away from open spaces.
- Stop all yard maintenance and tree trimming activities when there is a named storm with a predicted Florida landfall.
- Bundle and tie down all loose trash such as tree limbs, wood planks or building and roof tiles. Place these materials in a location where debris cannot become hazardous to homes and automobiles in high winds.
- Waste Management will continue to collect household garbage and recycling materials in the neighborhoods it serves according to designated schedules until a hurricane warning is issued.
AFTER THE STORM:
- After the storm passes, separate normal household garbage such as food refuse, diapers and regular household waste from storm debris caused by high winds, hail and rain. Storm debris including tree limbs, carpet and padding, aluminum and wood fencing, and household appliances should be placed curbside in a separate pile or piles.
- Separating normal household waste from storm debris will allow Waste Management employees to collect your household garbage more quickly and safely, and help prevent odors and safety hazards that would be created by mixing your household garbage with storm debris. The separation is also necessary to allow Waste Management to collect normal household waste and to permit other firms to collect storm debris in accordance with arrangements made by local municipalities and/or the County with contractors independent from Waste Management.
- Waste Management will restart curbside garbage and recycling collection of normal household waste on the streets that are passable upon approval from law enforcement and municipal officials. The company will expand its routes to additional areas as more streets become clear of debris and other impediments.
“After a hurricane or significant storm blows through a community, there are few more welcome signs of things getting back to normal than seeing our people doing their jobs,” said McCormick. “Once public safety is restored, the rapid recovery of a town or city begins with the startup of routine services. While contractors from other companies are contracted to pick up storm debris, Waste Management focuses on restoring regular household collection from the curbside.”
Also available in Waste Management’s mix of hurricane preparedness and recovery services is the Bagster® bag. An innovation in waste removal, Bagster is ideal in situations where there is a need to discard more debris than can fit in a typical bin or garbage receptacle, but not enough to require a dumpster. Available at local home improvement stores, Bagster bags are strong enough to hold 3,300 pounds of severe storm and hurricane debris items, such as tree stumps, large tree limbs, roofing shingles, full sheets of plywood and sheetrock.
“Our value to a community is not always apparent unless collection stops,” added McCormick. “Doing everything we can to prepare before, and return to service after a crisis, is what being a good community partner is all about.”
GEC Storm Restoration FAQ Sheet
- When will my house/street/neighborhood/county have power?
We wish we could give specific dates but as our General Manager, Jeff Brewington said, it could be days, it could be weeks.
- What if there is damage to my meter can or my electrical system in my home?
You will need to find a contractor as soon as possible and work with your county for any necessary inspections.
- Why don’t I see any trucks in my area?
Crews are in the field working even if you don’t see them. Remember, our service territory spans from Big Cypress Reservation in the south to Okeechobee and Sebring in the north. It’s a huge territory and even with extra crews they can’t come down every street at once.
- I have a downed line or pole on my driveway, street, or in my yard. What should I do?
Please go to www.gladesec.com/safety/outages and enter a report. Include any detail on the downed line or pole that you can. You do only need to enter this report once.
- Will GEC call me to let me know my power is restored?
Although we normally try to do this, this situation is far from normal. As a general rule we won’t be making any call backs unless there is a specific reason at your location we need more information.
- Why does my neighbor have electricity and I don’t?
It is frustrating to sit in the dark, while lights shine at your neighbor’s house and the power system around you appears to be undamaged. There are a host of possible causes for one home having power while a neighboring one does not, including:
- Homes are on different circuits.
- The transformer that serves your property has internal damage.
- The service wire to your home is damaged.
Our crews will continue working street by street and house by house until everyone has power.
- What if I have a medical issue?
We understand the stress this outage is causing, especially for members who face medical challenges. We are working at a feverish pace to restore power to everyone, but cannot give you a specific timeline for when you will have power. If you are dependent on electric-powered medical equipment and do not have a power backup system, please consider relocating.
- What if I have a power line down?
We care about your safety. Please call us at 863-946-6200with the exact location of the downed line. We will get a crew to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, please do not risk your life by moving lines or vegetation entangled in lines.
GEC Generator Safety Tips
Backup generators can provide an emergency power supply, enabling you to keep important equipment running during a power outage. But for your safety, and the safety of our employees, please be sure to properly and safely use your generator:
- Follow all of the precautions and instructions in the manufacturer’s documentation.
- Please obey all local building codes, especially regarding placement of the unit and safe electrical connections. Not following these precautions may result in hazardous conditions, including the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning or electrocution.
- Never connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system without a proper isolation device (a switch that disconnects your house from our power lines while your generator is operating, and vice versa. This applies to both portable and stationary units). Unless our lines are positively isolated from your home, operating a generator connected into your home’s wiring system could start a fire, damage sensitive electronic equipment and/or (and most importantly) electrocute a service crew member working to restore your power. Only a qualified electrician should install your isolation device.
- Take care when fueling your generator. Never try to refuel the unit while it’s operating. Avoid spilling gasoline or other fuels on hot components.
- The safest way to use a portable generator is to plug lights and appliances directly into the outlets on the generator unit. If extension cords are necessary, be sure to use heavy-duty cords in good condition with rated capacity sufficient for the load.