Now that Hurricane Irma has passed, the cleanup begins. Residents are encouraged to consider these helpful storm recovery tips.

Chatham County: 

All county offices, to include the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and the Detention Center, are at full operations. 

Water:

For your safety or if you are unsure about using water, residents are encouraged to boil water for at least one minute before drinking, cooking or using freezer ice.

Residents should make contact with their individual provider for specific details.

Fuel:

Per Associated Press, Federal officials are warning of possible fuel shortages in the Southeast because of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. As a result of the impact of these storms, there may be some fuel supply shortages throughout the Southeast.

Food: 

Discard any perishable food (things like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed out may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.

The most important thing to remember is: when in doubt, throw it out. Otherwise, you and your family could get really sick

Debris Pick Up: 

  • Each municipality has their own process for clean-up. Residents are encouraged to check with their provider.
  • Chatham County Public Works will begin debris removal in a systematic manner through neighborhoods beginning Thursday.
  • Residents should place storm debris at the curb for collection, making sure to separate vegetative debris from bulk waste.
  • All loose materials, such as leaves and twigs, must be containerized.
  • Please do not place items in the roadway, on or around phone boxes, power poles and drainage inlets.

 

Damage: 

Regardless of how minor you think the damage is, take snapshots for possible insurance purposes. If the damage is considerable, be sure to contact your insurance company to see what benefits may be available to you.

If your property suffered major tree damage, the local municipality or emergency services may help clear the way. However if the downed trees are on your personal property, you will need to contact a tree expert to assess the damage and determine whether it is to be saved or removed.

If your basement or house has flooded, extracting the water will be your first order of business. Residents should clean any drains that might have been covered by debris.

If you have drywall, the water-soaked portion will need to be removed and replaced. The chances of it drying out thoroughly are slim, and it holds the potential for mold and mildew. The same is true for water-damaged insulation behind drywall. Open vents and windows and set up a fan to keep fresh air circulating. The sooner everything dries, the less potential for mold, mildew and permanent damage. Some may consider investing in a dehumidifier to remove damp air and facilitate in the dry-out process.

Since floodwaters can be filled with a variety of contaminants from sewage to chemicals, make sure to clean floors, walls and furniture with a disinfectant (a solution of warm water and bleach should work). Be sure to wear a mask and gloves.