On Wednesday September 20, 2017 local officials from Broxton, Nicholls, Douglas, and Coffee County gathered with FEMA public assistance specialist Craig Ceschi and GEMA grant specialist Zack Saunders. Mr. Ceschi and Mr. Saunders heard reports from the local officials regarding damages from Hurricane Irma.
The purpose of the visit was to allow the state and federal emergency associations to come up with a damage assessment. Mr. Saunders told those assembled that there were three basic types of assessments to be done: debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent work.
Local officials were informed that the federal government would only reimburse for overtime hours worked by city employees. They did say, however, that work done by volunteers, such as volunteer firemen, can count as donated resources and be used as matching funds against debris removal or emergency protective measures - which includes overtime pay to municipal employees.
The most striking report was from Satilla REMC. They estimated that they spent $800,000 on repairs to damage from Hurricane Irma. Crystal Gill emailed figures to DouglasNow reflecting the extent of the damage and outages in Coffee County. The peak number of customers without power occurred on Monday, September 11 at 10:30 a.m. That peak number was 10,364. By Friday, September 15, that number was down to 1,050. And by Wednesday, September 20, the number was zero.
Coffee County Fire Chief Steve Carver sent out the following public service announcement regarding what he and his department had learned about debris removal:
Storm debris pick-up: Due to widespread storm damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Coffee County will provide collection for vegetative storm debris in unincorporated areas of Coffee County. Debris must be placed on the edge of the public right-of-way, out of the roadway; debris cannot be picked up on private property. Debris is limited to vegetative materials only, trees, limbs, straw and etc., material must be cut to eight-foot lengths or shorter. Stumps, root balls, household garbage and building materials will not be picked-up, if these materials are mixed in the pile, the pile will not be picked up. You must contact the Coffee County Road Department at 384-3449 to schedule pick up. Requests must be made by October, 6, 2017 in order for debris to be picked up.
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