Debris Removal >> How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc

We recommend that the Associate Administrator, Response and Recovery: Recommendation #2: To the greatest extent possible, provide applicants, FEMA employees, and other appropriate officials clear and unambiguous rules, guidance, and procedures for debris operations, including checklists and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc sample contracts. 

Recommendation #3: Work with the states to provide a variety of readily accessible training concerning rules, guidance, procedures, and recent developments in debris removal, contracting, and cost containment. Management Comments How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc and OIG Analysis FEMA generally concurs with both of these recommendations, but does not agree that providing sample contracts is appropriate. 

FEMA officials fear that doing so may create a false expectation of reimbursement of costs even if applicants fail to follow competitive bidding procedures, the work performed is ineligible, or the contract is not monitored effectively. In addition, How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc FEMA officials note that they are not able to account for the varying procurement requirements among states and localities. 

FEMA is committed to continue providing guidance for debris operations; the debris estimating and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc monitoring guides have just been issued, and the Debris Management Guide is being revised. FEMA is continuing to make training available and is currently developing a computer-based training course on debris management plan development. 

We agree with the steps FEMA has taken and is taking to provide guidance and training concerning debris operations. We acknowledge FEMA's concern with providing sample contracts and, in light of the new guidance that has been issued, How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc we will reevaluate this portion of our recommendation. We will determine the status of these recommendations once we review the detailed corrective action plan in FEMA's 90 day letter. 

Conducting Debris Operations Debris removal operations, as categorized by FEMA, occur in two phases: (1) initial debris clearance activities necessary to eliminate life and safety threats and (2) debris removal activities as a means to recovery. The initial debris clearance is an immediate post disaster effort that is frequently conducted by state and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc local employees and volunteers, but can also be conducted by contractors. 

The subsequent debris removal operations constitute the bulk of FEMA-funded activities. Extensive FEMA rules and regulations govern these efforts, and millions of FEMA dollars are expended in even the smaller categories of disasters. The vast majority of funds are expended on contracted firms that collect debris, haul it to staging areas, How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc and subsequently remove debris that has been processed and sorted by type to landfills and other sites. 

Other debris removal, frequently conducted by the same contractors, includes removing hanging branches and hazardous leaning trees. These operations are customarily reimbursed on a unit price basis (as are "white goods” such as refrigerators) and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc also constitute a major expense category in debris removal operations. 

The third major expense is for monitoring. Monitors, either local government employees or employees of a monitoring contractor, oversee a contractor's collection operations and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc the volume (and hence eligibility for payment) of the debris that contractors' trucks haul to collection or disposal sites. Most of the officials reported that debris is normally collected in a timely manner, enabling communities to proceed with recovery efforts. 

However, debris collection and monitoring efforts are often costly and many contractors are overpaid. Changes in FEMA policies could improve the cost-effectiveness of the debris removal program and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc make the program easier for local officials to manage. 

To be eligible for FEMA-funded collection, debris must be the result of a presidentially declared disaster, located within the disaster area on the eligible applicant's (usually a city or county) improved property or right-of-way, and the legal responsibility of the applicant. FEMA allows applicants to charge FEMA for collecting debris from private residences if debris has been brought to curbside or How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc is otherwise placed on the local government's right of of-way. 

Debris brought to the curbside in gated communities, trailer parks, or other communities where the streets do not have city or county right-of-way status does not qualify for collection except in cases where removal is necessary to provide access for emergency vehicles. Some contractors, How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc in order to increase their payments under their debris removal contract, will collect ineligible debris, such as debris not located on the right-of-way, and haul it to the collection site for payment. 

This can happen at any time, but it is more likely to occur as the recovery effort is winding down and eligible debris is less plentiful. We were told of cases where contractors had even gone onto state lands or into neighboring counties or parishes to collect ineligible vegetative debris. Some How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc contractors, who are paid for the mileage their trucks accumulate during the operations, have also been accused of putting on unnecessary miles, and even of driving in circles. 

Monitors can prevent or report such ineligible debris collecting and mileage, but only if they are present at the time of the collections. It is expensive to have an individual in every one of the contractor's trucks, as some communities have done. Also, How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc FEMA officials have advised that "debris monitors should never be in a debris removal contractor's truck”. 

Local government officials said that the eligibility rules collections can appear inequitable to their constituents and difficult to enforce. For example, residents of trailer courts, gated communities, and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc other less accessible communities may not receive the same level of debris removal services as more accessible locations. 

Elderly and disabled residents who cannot haul debris to curbside may miss out on FEMA-reimbursed debris removal services. The rules governing leaning trees and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc hanging branches are complex and difficult to interpret. We were told that some contractors make unnecessary multiple cuts on a damaged tree to increase their payments. 

It was also alleged that during one recent disaster, a contractor cut hundreds of ineligible trees and How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc claimed them for reimbursement. Tree operations are frequently a source of disputes between applicants and FEMA, and even FEMA employees may not agree on eligibility. 

Debris Volume Assessment at Collection Sites FEMA officials said most of the excessive costs in the debris program are the result of overstated How To Remove Tornado Damage Debris In An Emergenc volumes of collected debris. Most debris collection is paid for on a volume basis. The following occurs at the collection site: The contractor's trucks arrive at a collection site.

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