County emergency services directing debris and data

Published 7:15 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2018


The two messages Beaufort County Emergency Services is focusing on in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence are debris and data.

Lisa Williams, planning and mitigation specialist with BCES, is trying to set the record straight about next steps for those who received damages during the hurricane.



Property owners and renters of all businesses and/or homes damaged during the hurricane need to register with FEMA.

“If they had damages, even if they’re insured, they need to register,” Williams said. “Any future funding that we get down the road for mitigation, i.e. ‘raising my house,’ is going to be based on the data that is collected now of who had damage. … Whether you’re insured or uninsured, you need to register.”

Registration by calling 800-621-3362 means FEMA may be able assist with immediate disaster relief needs, as well as future mitigation.

“If they don’t own the building, that’s the best way to get help,” Williams said, of renters.



“If your home or your business was flooded, received damages from Hurricane Florence, I need you to contact our office, and I’ve set up a separate line for it,” Williams said.

The Beaufort County Hazard Mitigation number  is 252-940-6517.

“This application is for data. It will be used for any future mitigation monies. It is not a guarantee that (a property) will be mitigated,” Williams said. “Owners need to call so that I can either, A) if you flooded in the past and I’ve talked to you in the past, I can take the damages from Florence and update your file, or B) if you’ve never flooded and I’ve never talked you, I’ll start a file.”

Williams encouraged all property owners with storm damage to call the Hazard Mitigation number and, if it goes to voicemail, leave a message with name and address of the damaged property, and BCES will return the call.

The exception is the City of Washington. The county does not handle hazard mitigation for property within city limits. Those property owners need to contact the city’s planning department at 252-975-9383.



Those residents who have immediate needs can still call the county’s disaster relief line at 252-495-6040.

“People can call that number who need assistance, as well as people who want to offer assistance,” Williams said.



The county is only responsible for picking up storm debris in the unincorporated areas of county.

“In plain language, that means if you are in a municipality, it’s the municipalities’ responsibility (to remove storm debris),” Williams said.

County pick-up of storm debris has not yet started, as officials wanted to give those unable to immediately get back into their homes/businesses, as well as those who live elsewhere, two full weekends to get into properties and clear them of debris.

Williams said the debris should be placed curbside as soon as possible.

“We’re only going to make this debris pass one time. If people have debris, they need to get it out there because when we do start, we only go down each road one time,” she said.