The Norman Transcript

July 3, 2013

FEMA will use Moore cleanup for training video

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is video taping the Moore cleanup effort to use as a best practices training video.

“It’s not all Silver Star — it’s everybody as a team that FEMA is impressed with,” Silver Star owner Steve Shawn said. He said city staff, police, fire and others worked as a team to move cleanup forward.

Shawn said everything must be carefully documented to show that all debris is eligible for reimbursement. Cleanup efforts include details like monitoring which appliances and air conditioners have had freon removed so they can then be disposed.

“Every ice box that had freon removed, we track it and know what date the freon was taken out and if it was recycled,” Shawn said.

This intensive tracking is made possible through a contract with Debris-Tech, an engineering company in Mississippi.

“They developed the technology when they were working with storm monitoring in the area that got hit by Hurricane Katrina,” Shawn said.

The company serves as an objective third party monitor. Each load of debris, for example, is scanned three times, Shawn said. That process is paperless and documents each step of the way.

“This is done (in) real time,” Shawn said. “I can look on the website and see how many loads we’ve done. I gave FEMA a pass code on it so they can look over my shoulder and see what I’m doing.”

Shawn said the new technology has made his job easier and is more transparent.

“FEMA sees it, the city of Moore sees it and I can see it all at the same time,” Shawn said.

This cooperative venture resulted in a model of best practice.

“The best practice was on the new technology used for debris monitoring and removal,” said Jacqueline Chandler, FEMA spokesperson. “The debris activities taking place in the city of Moore happened to be using this new technology. A short video webisode was developed by FEMA to highlight the best practice and describe how the new technology was used in the debris removal process in Moore.”

Cleanup is going well, Moore City Manager Stephen Eddy said.

“I’m real pleased with the pace of the cleanup. I think it’s gone quicker than anyone expected,” Eddy said. “A lot of people did their own and either hired contractors or used volunteers.”

Despite the successes, some homes need to be demolished, but people may be uninsured or under-insured. The city can demolish those homes for free if people sign a right-of-entry. The ROE must be signed to grant permission and waive liability before the city can proceed.

Rebuilding is now under way. The city council adopted an ordinance Monday to set minimum building standards, while allowing room for the neighborhoods to keep a homogeneous character. The ordinance requires a permit and 50 percent coverage of brick or stone on the newly built residence.

One exception in the current tornado-damaged area is Foxglove addition, where brick is not required. The minimum size, excluding the garage, is 1,000 square feet and structures are required to have an attached garage.

Joy Hampton