“The response from throughout the region to assist is an amazing testament to the spirit of giving seen in times such as these,” Helton said.
The Northwest Georgia Conference of United Methodists are serving as volunteer coordinators for the disaster relief effort bringing together volunteers from the community, churches, faith and civic-based organizations. The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are among the organizations assisting residents, according to fire chief Chuck Nichols.
Public or groups wishing to volunteer may call the volunteer coordinator at (706) 935-2424 Ext. 1028.
Relief efforts are being staged from three designated assistance centers: The Ringgold United Methodist Church 7884 Nashville Street; Poplar Springs Baptist Church, 422 Poplar Springs Road; and Cherokee Valley Baptist Church, 1495 Cherokee Valley Road.
“Ringgold United Methodist is the primary staging area where families can go to receive assistance, ask questions, get non-perishable foods, supplies, get a hot meal and other services as they are needed,” Wright said. “Similar services are being provided at all three churches.”
The Salvation Army is providing hot meals from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the City Hall parking lot, according to Wright.
“Also today volunteers began going door to door checking on residents helping to meet their immediate needs,” Helton said.
Sheriff Phil Summers said that removal of vehicles throughout the tornado impact area began Saturday.
“All cars are being towed to a central location and will be available to be picked up on Sunday, May 1,” he said. “The location of the vehicles will be available on Sunday morning.
“There is no towing charge that will be imposed for removal of the vehicle from the hazard zone,” he said. “However, if the car is not drivable from that central location, the owner will be responsible for towing charges from the central location to the owner’s choice of location.”
Points Catoosa County and Ringgold residents should know:
Points you need to know:
1) Ringgold residents and business owners until further notice may provide proof of residence or business ownership to gain access to a home or business that was not damaged in incident. Ringgold is working with Catoosa County and emergency management officials to check damaged structures and make an evaluation as to whether they are safe for entry.
2) If you are sheltering in your home, please do not walk or drive around the damaged areas. There are many safety issues that still exist and workers are trying to improve conditions. Please help officials to speed the recovery by staying close to home unless you are going to a designated assistance center or leaving the impact area.
3) Ringgold City Hall, 150 Tennessee Street is open Monday and is providing basic informational function for city residents. The city number is (706) 935-3061. The Catoosa County Administration Building, 800 LaFayette Street, is open Monday to provide basic informational function for county residents. The county number is (706) 965-2500.
4) Ringgold Water Plant is now back on line and fully functioning. The city is encouraging residents to boil water for consumption until instructed otherwise.
5) Power companies are working to restore power as quickly as possible. Many areas of the city and county already have power and others are expected by early next week. There could be some areas which require additional time depending on the progress of the work.
6) Trash service in the city in areas not tremendously affected by the tornado will continue on normal days. Areas hit by the tornado will receive trash service again on normal days when road safety allows.
7) Personal brush and clean-up debris from residential property owners in the county and the city should be piled in your yards close to the street for city and county pick-up. Do not place debris or brush on city or county streets. Do not block fire hydrants. Property owners should document damage and amount of debris with photos for future claims in insurance or with FEMA or other opportunities.
8) Ringgold officials are working to set dumpsters exclusively for construction and demolition debris (no brush) strategically around the city. These are for the use exclusively of residents doing their own clean up of these materials in these dumpsters. Contractors hired to cut trees, or clean up house or other debris must remove all their debris from the property and dispose in an established permitted disposal facility.
Do not place household trash in these dumpsters. Place trash in closed trash bags at the street if you lost your city trash can and report the missing can to the city hall for a replacement.
County residents may place storm debris at the street for pick up but no household garbage.
9) If you have a non-emergency need relating to Ringgold city services, please call City Hall (706) 935-3061. If you have a non-emergency need relating to Catoosa County services, please call Catoosa County Administration building at (706) 965-2500.
10) If you have an emergency medical need, please call 911.
11) Please be cautious of any vendors offering you services to repair your home or do demolition. All vendors must be approved and permitted by Catoosa County.
12) A Catoosa County Help Line is established for reporting missing persons, check whether contractors are permitted, or answer or questions: (706) 965-7138 or (706) 965-7139.