Preparing for Restoration November 28, 2017 – Posted in: Blog, Industrial

Disaster cleanup is both a challenging and highly rewarding job — if you do it right. It’s tempting to load up the truck and hit the road in the wake of a tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster. You have a unique skillset, and you feel like you can help. But, before you go, there are some key considerations to ponder. Here’s a look at what to consider before you travel for restoration work.

First Considerations When Taking on Disaster Work Outside Your Home Territory

So, you’re interested in disaster cleanup in an area that has recently experienced a storm or some other weather-related event — that’s great! Before you go, spend time thinking through these three categories of key considerations:

  1. Health and Safety: There’s nothing more important than your health and safety. Make sure you and your hurricane clean-up crew team members have the appropriate inoculations before you head out, and also make sure you have the right safety-related equipment and gear, including respirators, masks, suits, decontamination showers, etc.
  2. Licensing and Insurance: When traveling for hurricane clean-up jobs and similar disaster work, keep in mind that you may need different licenses and insurance depending on your destination. Make sure to check the local requirements before you go, and never head to a disaster area until you’re properly licensed and insured to work there.
  3. Resources: Perhaps most importantly, make sure you have the right resources before traveling to a disaster area. Resources fall into three broad categories: financing, equipment and manpower. You need enough money to handle the out-of-town work — as well as access to that money — the right equipment and enough people to get the work done.

Another suggestion is to have an invitation before heading out to do disaster cleanup work. A disaster cleanup area can be chaotic, and the last thing that chaotic environment needs is a crew trying to drum up work on the fly. It’s always smart to be invited into a disaster area by a client or another local restoration company before you go.

What Types of Resources and Manpower Are Needed?

Different teams will require diverse levels of resources and manpower in different situations. Here’s a list of resources and manpower considerations to take into account as you plan your work in a disaster area:

  • Personnel: You want enough people on-site to get the job done, but you don’t want so many people that some don’t have anything to do — or that some are just getting in the way.
  • Communication Tools: Satellite phones are necessary in disaster relief areas, as communication infrastructure may be damaged. Also, make sure you have GPS navigation tools.
  • Lodging and Storage: Where will your team stay? Lodging can be at a premium in disaster areas. Make sure you have a place to store your tools and equipment when not in use, too.
  • Food and Water: Take plenty of non-perishable food and drinks with you. Prepare as though you’re going on a camping trip, where restaurants and grocery stores may not be fully operational.
  • Transportation: Have the right vehicles, and take plenty of fuel. You may be able to find gas on the go, but you may not.
  • Tools and Equipment: As far as tools go, bring everything you could possibly need. There likely will not be an opportunity to run out and get more tools and equipment, especially given how specialized your work is.

Other Considerations While On-Site

Once you’re on-site, there’s a whole new set of considerations to take into account. Here’s a look at what you need to keep in mind once you’ve arrived in the disaster area:

  • Operations: Have a plan in place to deploy your resources responsibly in the disaster area, while also keeping up with your commitments at home. The last thing you want to do is over-commit your team in the disaster area and not be able to fulfill those promises.
  • Relationships: Before you go, make sure you have a strong relationship with both your financier — most likely a bank — and your suppliers, or those who can help you replenish as needed.
  • People: It takes a special kind of person to do work in a disaster zone. Recruit people who are hardworking and passionate about helping those who’ve just experienced a terrible, life-changing event.
  • Payment: Have clear expectations about how you’re going to get paid and when you’re going to get paid. Yes, a disaster zone is a chaotic place, but you can’t let that chaos affect your bottom line or you won’t be able to help others in the future.

Make a Difference with Disaster Cleanup

When you head to a disaster area, you have a chance to truly help people in need. While it’s tempting to jump in the truck and go, you can have a much more powerful impact if you consider these factors beforehand.