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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2003
CONTACT: Mary Charles, Communications Officer, 513-1356

Tornado aftermath update

Demolition of some properties in the tornado-stricken areas of Kansas City began late this afternoon. The Dangerous Buildings Division of the Neighborhood and Community Services Department obtained bids for demolition of two properties this morning.

Insurance company representatives told City officials they will hire contractors for demolition of other homes. On Friday, the City will obtain bids for the buildings requiring demolition where the insurance companies have not made their own arrangements. Demolition of those structures should begin on Friday afternoon or Saturday.

City crews will begin picking up tree debris from the tornado at curbside tomorrow. The crews are picking up only tree debris in neighborhoods where extensive tornado damage occurred. The subdivisions are Brookhill, Carriage Hills Estates, Charleston Harbor, Cherokee Heights, Highridge Manor, Northbrook Park, Maple Park Gardens, Sumerset, Valley Brook, Valleyview Acres, and Woodfield.

The Department of Environmental Management will continue maintaining large trash bins at 64th and North Jackson, and 62nd and Cypress. The two trash bins at each location will be emptied on a regular basis. Residents can put all types of storm debris in the trash bins except hazardous waste. Residents also can drop off tree debris at the City’s Environmental Campus, 4701 Deramus. The site will be open extra days and hours this week: Thursday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The Police Department will maintain their patrol of the area and use the Emergency PASS system to limit access to residents, contractors, insurance adjustors, utility workers, emergency personnel and aid providers.

The Health Department advises residents, utility workers and clean-up crews working in tornado-stricken areas to continue to keep looking for possible dangers presented by damaged utilities, sharp metal, nails and broken glass. Victims are encouraged to work in pairs.

Anyone sustaining a puncture wound or cut should get a tetanus shot. Tetanus shots are good for 10 years. Those who are unsure when their last tetanus shot was should err on the side of caution and get a tetanus shot, since tetanus can be deadly. Residents should supervise children closely and not allow them to roam or play in affected areas.

The Health Department also is encouraging tornado victims who may be suffering emotionally to seek assistance. In many cases, the destruction may be the worst thing many residents will ever experience. Signs and symptoms of critical incident stress include sleeplessness or oversleeping, depression, irritability and withdrawal. If left untreated, this type of stress can lead to other problems including serious depression, drug and alcohol abuse or suicide. If signs and symptoms continue for more than two weeks, victims should seek assistance from a mental health professional.

United Health Care has set up a toll-free 24-hour hotline for storm victims, (800) 689-5703. The hotline will be open until Aug. 5. Victims also can call the Salvation Army, (816) 221-1525; and Swope Health Services, (816) 922-7645.

    
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