The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that natural disasters have caused $1 trillion in damages over the last 20 years. This number does not include losses from this year, as they are still being calculated. These natural disasters most likely include severe storms, tropical cyclones, flooding, drought, wildfires, windstorms, and freeze.
After Hurricane Ian hit the U.S., communities across the south received help from Gulf Services. Gulf Services is a family-owned construction company based in Theodore, Alabama, and subcontractor to CrowderGulf, a disaster relief company. Gulf Services were the most active in Lee County, Florida, after the storm.
Gulf services have four debris management sites (DMS) that collect materials brought in from disaster relief efforts. Different materials are handled in distinct ways. For example, vegetative material is ground, construction and demolition debris go through a compactor, and mulch is used as landfill cover and landscaping.
Debris removal services go through several phases:
- Road clearing
- Debris collection
Additional services can include waterway debris, vessel removal, and final demolition.
Preparation Is Critical
Major storms and other natural disasters can strike at any time. It is vital that EMS, fire, and other services can quickly and safely get to people in need. Other businesses and properties often pre-identify areas that may need immediate relief. In fact, it is not uncommon for these property owners to already have permits in place for the necessary work to be completed.
Lyman Ramsay, president of Gulf Services, notes the importance of pre-panning with clients and subcontractors to create a plan of attack for disaster cleanup to ensure everyone can mobilize and start as soon as possible. The first 48 hours after a natural disaster is the most critical to start work before traffic picks up, with people returning to their homes after the evacuation is over.
Contractors who want to take place in relief efforts should even consider getting contracts through their area to better prepare for hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, and other disaster seasons.
Downtime Is Not an Option
When equipment runs into problems or breakdowns, the important cleanup work is delayed. Vendors who service vehicles may also be dealing with recovering from the storm, so it may be difficult to find someone who can help right away. That’s why it is critical that all equipment is well-maintained and ready to go at all times.
Necessary Equipment for Disaster Response
There are a number of equipment options that can help make disaster relief more efficient:
- A backhoe
- Brush cutter
- Front loader
- Stump grinder
- Flood pumps
- Dump trucks
- Track loaders
- Track-type tractors
Companies that need this gear can find some of these items at their local hardware stores that offer tool rental services. In some cases, it would be better to find a local lawn store to buy the gear outright.
A job in disaster cleanup isn’t only an avenue for profit; it’s a service that the community depends on to get life back to normal after disaster hits.
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