Whether you own a restoration company currently or are just thinking about starting up one somewhere along the line you are going to ask yourself “Will I take my company straight to the disaster?” I won’t lie, its not for everyone. Imagine this. You are a few years in business when a big hurricane hits. You think to yourself “This is it! Time to make the big bucks!” and for some that can certainly be very true. However, if it is your first time helping with disaster recovery there are a few key guidelines you should follow in order to be successful. Some may seem common sense, however, I am telling you this article is written out of pure experience.
1. STOCK UP ON FOOD AND WATER
During the days following a hurricane there is a huge shortage of food and water If you do not stock up efficiently you may find yourself in a pickle. The number one item you should stock up on not only for yourself and your crew, but also for the customers you will be encountering, is the key to life….water! Bring healthy food that is not going to spoil. You may find it hard to get ice to keep lunch meats and things of that nature cold for a while so keep those types of food items to a minimum until stores start to reopen.
2. STOCK UP ON GAS
Just like food and water it is also very hard to find gasoline in the following days after a hurricane. Be smart and fill up your vehicles in a city outside of the natural disaster area. Bring as much reserve fuel as you can just incase. The gas stations near the disaster will open soon again, however, you do not want your vehicle to get stranded or have to make an unnecessary journey to go get gas.
3. PREPARE TO CAMP OUT
Maybe its just me but if I am going to make a trip to a natural disaster I want to be where the action is. It just so happens that its very hard to get a hotel room close to where all of the action is after a disaster. Depending on where you are, this may not change for months because not only are the workers staying in hotels but now the residents are too. My best advice for this to keep costs down would be to bring a camper trailer that you can rent monthly and only bring your best guys down with you. If you need help getting work done, hire from the area you are in. People are more than willing to help after a storm. This is a much better solution than wasting all of your profit on a hotel for you and your crew. Maybe treat yourself a week or so before going home to a nice hotel room.
4. PUT YOUR GUARD UP
Most of the people you will encounter during a natural disaster are good people who are in need of your services. They will be happy to see you and very thankful once you have mitigated the situation so they can get on the path to rebuilding. However, you should remember that not everyone can be trusted. People try to take advantage in these types of situations. Keep your guard up about who you are working with and also who you allow to work with you. Cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s. You do not want to end up in a situation where one of your customers property goes missing or some similar situation. In fact it is best to be upfront with all of your customers at the initial consultation and help them as best you can to gather all belongings that are important or valuable. Set expectations for your employees. Everyone look out for one another.
Honestly, I am not sure 4 bullet points sums up everything you need to know about disaster recovery. I am not claiming to know everything on the topic ,however, these 4 points should be taken into careful consideration should you decide to help out during a big storm. I really wish I had read this article before my first big storm….