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Guidance for Debris Removal





As community associations brace for hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, there are a few key steps communities may take to increase the possibility of getting assistance from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for recovery efforts.

Community association residents are most likely concerned with debris removal.

  1. Debris removal from private property requires prior FEMA approval. It is highly unlikely community associations will be reimbursed for expenses if they do not use the proper channels.

  2. Your community should be in touch with your local county or city and you should ask them what your community needs to do to ensure debris will be removed from your community following the disaster.

      • If your locality asks for authority to access your private property (association-owned streets), you may complete and submit to them this form. ‚Äč


Piles of disaster debris may lines streets in numerous community associations in the Hurricane Florence impact areas as residents return to salvage belongings and rebuild homes. A priority of associations must be the prompt and proper removal of this debris.

In general, federal funds may NOT be used for debris removal from private property, such as a community association, without prior FEMA approval. It is highly unlikely community associations will be reimbursed by FEMA for debris removal expenses unless proper channels are used to authorize the work.

Here are steps a community association manager/board should take to see if your community is eligible for post-disaster debris removal assistance.

  • Verify your community's eligibility for federal debris removal assistance by contacting your municipal government (county, city, township, etc.) and your local FEMA representative to request debris removal assistance for your community association.

  • Verify your municipal officials understand how to obtain FEMA approval to remove disaster debris from your community

        • Ask that representatives of the municipality and FEMA view debris in the community

        • Ask that the municipality declare debris to be a threat to public health and safety

        • Ask that the municipality invoke any existing emergency authority to enter private land to respond to immediate threats to public health and safety 

  • FEMA may deny your request for debris removal services in your community association by classifying the association as a private community or business. If your community is denied federally-funded debris removal assistance, request an immediate review of the denial by regional FEMA officials and inform your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators of FEMA's denial. Contact your Member of Congress by clicking here.

  • If FEMA denies your appeal and will not approve debris removal from community association streets, verify with county and FEMA officials that debris within the community may lawfully be moved by a private contractor to the closest public street or other designated location for removal by the county.

  • Be patient.

  • Visit and for updates.

State Emergency Management Agencies (for those in the path of Hurricane Florence).

Delaware Emergency Management Agency

District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency

Maryland Emergency Management Agency

North Carolina Emergency Management Agency

South Carolina Emergency Management Agency

Virginia Emergency Management Agency

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