Debris Removal


  • Debris management and removal are invariably among the most complex and costly problems following a disaster.
  • The cost of debris removal can mean the difference between survival and failure if you are a marginally profitable business.
  • Despite the fact that debris removal can have a great impact on business recovery time and your ability to conduct business, it is all too frequently overlooked.
  • It is important to determine, as part of your plan, the who, how and when of debris removal.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you know who is responsible for debris removal?

You should determine beforehand who is responsible for debris removal after a disaster. If you rent or lease your property you should contact your landlord or property manager to determine this responsibility. If you own your property, the responsibility will be yours.

How and when do I arrange for debris removal?

You should have arrangements in place to deal with debris removal long before any event. Contact your local municipal, county or private waste disposal organization to determine debris removal responsibilities, plans and timing. It may be that they have contracted, in advance, with a specialized debris removal firm in the event local resources are overwhelmed.

Is debris removal covered by your insurance?

You should discuss with your insurance agent the specific debris removal coverage, if any, in your policy. Generally the maximum amount of coverage is equal to 25% of the amount paid for the direct physical loss, plus 25% of the deductible. It is important to note that this 25% is often not in addition to the physical loss coverage but is counted against it. Consequently, your physical loss coverage may be less than you thought when you contracted for it.

Will debris be removed from my property?

Generally, debris will need to be placed curbside. It is the responsibility of the property owner to place the debris. Again, you should check with your local waste collection agency to determine their procedures and your specific responsibilities. You may be instructed to sort debris by type before pickup.

How is toxic or polluted debris handled?

It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the policies, guidelines and practices of your local waste collection agency regarding the handling and disposal of toxic wastes and hazardous materials that might result from a disaster at your business site.

Who is responsible for removal of debris strewn over neighboring properties? Who will be responsible for any damage caused by neighboring debris?

It is reasonable to believe that after a major hurricane debris will be spread over a large area. The removal of debris from your property, no matter whose debris it is, will likely be the responsibility of the property owner where the debris ends up. Insurance companies generally agree that property losses caused by debris from another property will likely be the responsibility of the property owner where the debris ends up. This, however, may be subject to legal interpretation.

Is there a time limit for debris removal?

Generally the extent and duration of debris removal is carefully controlled. FEMA, state and local officials will agree on a time frame during which pick-up from the curb will be accomplished. Check with your local authorities to determine the time frame for your location.

Click here for some additional information regarding debris removal


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