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Feb. 26 update from the Lake County EOC

RELEASE DATE: February 26, 2007

TAVARES - The following information is an update (new information in bold text) from the Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC):

• All Lake County residents that need assistance getting storm-related debris to the roadside are encouraged to call 1-866-540-2325 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Not-for-profit organizations are available to provide free assistance in helping residents move debris to the roadside. Residents should make three separate piles: vegetative debris, construction debris and household trash. Please do not block mailboxes, driveways, storm drains, fire hydrants or utility boxes with debris. As of Sunday, 116,108 cubic yards of debris materials have been collected in unincorporated Lake County.

• Friday, March 2, is the last day for residents in the Lady Lake area to place storm-related debris for roadside pick up by Lake County and Town of Lady Lake contractors. Sunday, March 4, is the last day for residents in the Lake Mack community to place storm-related debris at the roadside. The final pass of debris collection will start the first week in March. Residents that do not have all debris at the roadside by the deadline risk debris not being picked up. After the deadline, residents may dispose of storm-related debris following normal residential collection guidelines. For more information, log on to www.lakecountyfl.gov.

• Residents are encouraged to first contact their home insurance company before seeking building permits or FEMA assistance. To apply for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA or log on to www.fema.gov. Three Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday. These centers provide Lake County residents with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with recovery specialists, representatives from state and federal government and mental health counselors. The four centers Lake County residents can visit are located at: 38521 Lakeview Drive in Lady Lake; 1985 Laurel Manor Drive in The Villages (Sumter County) and 31039 Lake Mack Road in the Lake Mack community. Due to a steady decline in visitors, the Lake Mack and The Villages DRCs are scheduled to close for business at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.

• The Lake County Volunteer Center base camp, under the title “Operation: Groundhog Heroes,” opened Sunday, Feb. 11, at 33926 County Road 473 in Leesburg. For the safety of volunteers and residents, potential volunteers and current volunteers working in the disaster areas are encouraged to register through this center. For more information about “Operation: Groundhog Heroes,” call the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732. The center decreased its time for registration today from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week. As of Sunday, the center has registered 602 volunteers.

• Bus service in the affected areas was discontinued as of today. Future bus transportation requests from residents in the affected areas can be made by calling Lake County Connection at (352) 326-2278.

• Business owners impacted by the Dec. 25 or Feb. 2 tornadoes can register locally with FEMA or directly with the Small Business Administration (SBA). They may be eligible to receive disaster assistance loans from the SBA. To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA or log on to www.fema.gov. To apply directly to the SBA, call 1-800-659-2955, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or log on to www.sba.gov.

• Teams of two Project Hope counselors are deployed on a daily basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at each Disaster Recovery Center in Lake County (38521 Lakeview Drive, Lady Lake, and 31039 Lake Mack Road). Services are free and there are also information sheets for identifying and dealing with feelings of stress.

• As of Sunday, a total of 30 FEMA trailers have been delivered and installed in Lake County (14 in Lake Mack, three in unincorporated Lake County and 13 in the Town of Lady Lake).

• Current damage assessment for Lake County is $26.3 million in structural damage. Structural damage in all of Lake County (incorporated and unincorporated) includes 385 damaged and 185 destroyed structures.

• The Salvation Army is providing social services for emergency financial assistance at the Leesburg office, located at 2105 W. Main St., Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (352) 365-0079. The Salvation Army also provides a free community breakfast at this location on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 a.m.

• Lake and Sumter Emergency Response (LASER) has a total of 12 caseworkers stationed at the First Baptist Church of Paisley, located at 25145 Fishermans Road, and First United Methodist Church of Lady Lake, located at 109 W. McClendon St. Affected residents can meet with the caseworkers between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. In particular, caseworkers can assist residents with applying for LASER assistance. To make a monetary donation to LASER, mail checks payable to Lake County BCC (check note: LASER) to P.O. Box 1985, Lady Lake, FL 32158. For more information about making donations, call LASER at (352) 742-6550, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

• The Lake County Health Department would like to remind residents with water wells in the affected areas to get these systems tested before utilizing the wells by calling (352) 253-6130. In addition, the Health Department warns against storing perishable food in coolers for a long period of time. Perishable food should not be kept above 40 degrees for more than two hours, otherwise the food may begin to spoil and bacterial growth will start.

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Lake County media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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