Lowndes County Hurricane Irma Recovery Update

| September 13, 2017

Release from Lowndes County

POWER

Power company personnel continue to work around the clock to restore power.  As of this afternoon there are approximately 8,600 customers still without power.  Citizens are encouraged for safety reasons to refrain from attempting to address utility lines themselves.  Downed lines are very dangerous and should be considered live until addressed by power personnel.

Citizens should exercise caution as generator use continues.  Generators should be housed in a well ventilated area, not an enclosed area such as a garage.  Also, please make sure power cords are not left in standing water.  Generators should not be plugged into a wall outlet.  This is known as back feeding.  If someone has not turned the main breaker of the home or business off so that the location is isolated from the grid, the generator could send power beyond the location and injure or kill the utility worker trying to repair the grid.

DEBRIS REMOVAL

While Lowndes County has amended the burn ordinance for the unincorporated area, a BURN BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT STATEWIDE.

Lowndes County has lifted the Burn Ordinance restriction that provides for burning on the first and third Saturday of each month.  Citizens in unincorporated Lowndes County can burn personal yard debris any day of the week until September 30.   This does not affect Georgia Forestry’s requirement of a burn permit.  Citizens must always first have a burn permit.  To obtain a permit, please call Georgia Forestry at 1-866-OK2-BURN.  Please remain mindful that for medical reasons smoke is uncomfortable to some citizens.  Efforts should be made to burn yard debris efficiently.   Lowndes County Code Enforcement will continue to monitor burning activities.

Residents inside the city limits of Valdosta, Remerton, Hahira, Lake Park, and Dasher follow the directions of each city with regards to disposing of storm debris.  Burning is not allowed inside city limits.

Advanced Disposal is collecting yard debris as they continue their normal routes.  The landfill is also open for the disposal of yard debris from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Deep South Sanitation will have the collection center on Gil Harbin open for Deep South customers during normal business hours for collection centers.

REPAIRS

If your home or business needs repair, please make sure that anyone working on your property is a licensed contractor.  Licensed contractors should be able to provide a copy of their occupational tax certificate(business license), proof of insurance, and a contract that outlines the work to be done, cost, and a time by which the work will be completed.  A reputable contractor should not ask for payment up front.

There is no indication that there is going to be any financial or FEMA assistance at this time.  Citizens with damage should contact their insurance agent for directions on obtaining estimates.  Renters should contact their landlords.  Anyone without insurance is private pay.  There may be volunteer assistance available for citizens with extenuating circumstances.  If you would like to volunteer services or if you need help, please call 229-671-2790, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Volunteer assistance is provided on as verified basis as resources are available.

PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE

Residents that lost power in their homes for an extended period of time should check the temperatures in their refrigerator and freezer once power is restored. If they’re still at safe temperatures, the food should be fine. Discard any perishable food that has been above 41F for two hours or more. Visit georgiaeh.us<http://georgiaeh.us> for detailed information.

Food service permit holders that experienced a power service interruption should verify the temperatures of all coolers prior to reopening. The temperature for perishable foods should maintain 41F or below. Discard all perishable food items that are above 41F. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.

If a private well was flooded during the storm, residents should contact Lowndes County Health Department for guidance on chlorination procedures at 245-2314.

FUEL

Citizens should continue to be conservative with fuel use until supplies return to normal levels.  A timeframe by which fuel levels will return to normal is not available at this time.

STORM STATS

Emergency Management is beginning to receive questions related to damage assessment and general statistics related to the storm.  Most of this information will not be available until later this week or next.  Currently, many storm related statistics continue to increase as our community is still in the recovery phase of Hurricane Irma.  As of now, I can confirm the following:

From midnight Sept. 10 until 7:00 a.m. Sept. 12, Lowndes County 911 dispatchers received 2,533 community wide calls for service.  Out of these calls, 401 trees were reported down, 34 trees were reported down on homes, and 182 utility lines were reported down.  This is not a total number as it relates to actual damage.  It only addresses the calls made to 911.  Many thanks to the men and women of the Lowndes County 911 Center for addressing the needs of both citizens and emergency responders as Hurricane Irma moved through our community.

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