WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With communities in Louisiana cleaning up in the wake of Hurricane Barry, it’s a wake-up call to start preparing for the next big storm here in Florida.
That may start with what’s in your yard.
Local trash removal companies like Going Going Gone Removals of North Palm Beach are seeing an increase in work orders to remove debris from people’s yards this hurricane season.
“It’s typically when we get our busiest,” said company owner Frank Buttaravoli. “We had to add an extra truck to our fleet this year to keep up with increasing demand.”
It’s a reminder that anything from patio furniture to wooden tables, even a crumbling grill cooker can become a problem.
“it’s really important to stay ahead of the storm,” said Buttaravoli, who completed an order this week of an old hot tub with pieces falling off of it.
He said the goal is to remove things that could become projectiles during the storm.
“Once that wind starts rolling through, it can just whip it up and it could fly into your own window or your neighbor’s window and nobody likes that,” said Buttaravoli.
Most of the junk that Going Going Gone Removals collects will be recycled while the rest of the debris is taken to landfills.
Meanwhile, Solid Waste Authority doesn’t want people to procrastinate on tree trimming either.
“When we’re on the cone of uncertainty, that is not the time to trim,” said Becky Robinson, SWA Public Affairs manager.
During Hurricane Irma, SWA said about 30 to 40 percent more material ended up on peoples curbs in the two weeks before the storm.
“There’s just no way that we anyone could collect all of that material. As a governmental agency, we’re trying to prepare our facilities for the storm, we’re trying to make sure we can open up the minute the minute the storm has passed,” said Robinson. “Once winds reach a certain strength, no trucks are even allowed on the road.”
So if you procrastinate, your last minute debris could become a missile in the winds.
“Our concern is that there’s no waste left out and no extra waste after a storm passes,” said Robinson. “We’re going to have so much to clean up after a storm, you can’t complicate that problem by having more waste set out beforehand.”
People who live near the beach, like Lake Worth Beach resident Amanda Smoren, are not taking this hurricane season lightly.
“I’ve been through hurricane after hurricane,” said Smoren, who has lived in the Sunshine State for 15 years. “I think it’s really important that we think of this well in advance.”
And while the weather may be quiet and beautiful now, it’s actually the perfect time to get ready.
“People are here are on vacation for the summer, they’re not worried about it,” said Smoren. “We’re homeowners we live here. we really need to be the ones who think about it first.”
SWA suggests keeping a year-round tree trimming plan.
“If you have a shed that’s falling down, if you have trees with dead branches or things that could brush against the house, get that taken care of,” said Robinson.
There are limits to how much vegetation you can leave at the curb, depending on where you live. In SWA managed parts of Palm Beach County, you can only leave 6 cubic yards of vegetation on your curb per week.
“If you keep your year-round plan, hopefully you’ll never exceed that limit,” said Robinson.
For a complete guide on how to prepare your yard and home for a hurricane when it comes to debris, click here.