State issues guidelines for cleanup after deadly EF-3 tornado devastates Gaylord

GAYLORD, Mich. – An EF3 tornado touched down in gaylord Friday, killing two people and injuring dozens more.

The tornado caused extensive damage that affected residents and businesses. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) shares tips on how to handle debris.

“In the event of a disaster, we keep the health and safety of the people of Michigan at the forefront of cleanup efforts that protect our state’s environment,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “We are committed to helping build a safe path to recovery.”

Lily: Officials say the tornado that hit Gaylord was EF-3 with peak winds of 150 mph

EGLE shared the following guidelines:

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  • After evacuation, be sure to check with local authorities before returning. Upon arrival at the property, perform a visual inspection to check for downed power lines.

  • Itemize items on the property, paying particular attention to hazardous materials such as paint, motor oil and solvents. For a list of common types of household hazardous waste and local contacts for household hazardous waste collection, visit Michigan.gov/EGLEHHW.
  • Be careful when crossing obstacles or large piles of debris to avoid hidden dangers, such as nails and other sharp objects.

  • Residents and business owners should treat storm-related construction and demolition debris as possibly containing asbestos and keep it in a damp condition until disposal. For more information on asbestos waste management, visit Michigan.gov/EGLEAsbestos.
  • Debris from homes and businesses must be collected for disposal. This includes structural materials, roofing, insulation, siding, appliances, carpeting, furniture and other household items. Otsego County will coordinate the collection and disposal of massive debris in conjunction with the State Emergency Operations Center. Residents who do not independently manage waste disposal are encouraged to contact local and county municipalities for specific instructions.

  • Woody and plant debris generated by storms, such as trees and untreated wood, should be sorted and left to dry. These items can be ground into mulch, composted, or saved for municipal collection in areas that do.

  • Air quality regulations only allow the open burning of trees, logs, brush and stumps. For questions about open burning, visit Michigan.gov/OpenBurning.

Additional Resources:

  • EGLE Environmental Support Center: 800-662-9278

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