Preparing for Natural Disasters

The Coffee County Commission looked at bids from a half-dozen companies looking to get a pre-event natural disaster contract. It’s part of a new policy from FEMA.

In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan resulted in tens-of-millions of dollars in property damage along the Florida/Alabama line near Mobile. The storm made its way into Coffee County resulting in tornados and plenty of private property damage.

Monday, the Coffee County Commission tabled hiring a pre-event debris clean-up company. The bids varied from a half-million to $2 million dollars.

Randy Tindol, an engineer in Coffee County said, "We took a Category 3 hurricane and we estimated on how much it would result in dollars of damage. We are looking to find the low-bidder."

Following Katrina's destruction of New Orleans two-years ago, FEMA officials want local governments to be "proactive" when it comes to having workers ready to start in the clean-up stage.

Assistant Director of Coffee County FEMA, Larry Walker said, "And we estimate that by contracting out it'll allow us to save thousands of dollars in regard to the clean-up from a major storm and not pay higher prices for the labor.”

Besides getting work to the affected areas quicker, contracting with a company will save big dollars.

"It could save as much as 15-percent by having a company in place when a storm comes,” Walker said. “There's a greater reimbursement from FEMA."

At this time, several other tri-states' cities' and counties are looking at options when it comes to contracting with a company as its pre-event debris clean-up group.

With some six-bids before the Coffee County Commission, the prices ranged from a half-million to more than $2 million dollars.

By having a pre-event debris clean-up group aboard, the governmental agency can see an increase in reimbursement from FEMA in the event of a natural disaster.


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