If a natural disaster hits, you need to be prepared. Construction companies are often needed to help out with cleaning up after a large weather event. If you own a construction company, your natural disaster recovery plan should focus on how you can help in a crisis. With your equipment and skilled workers, you could help clear debris or fix a damaged building. Think about what equipment you may need to do these jobs, such as cranes or dump trucks.
You may also need to coordinate with emergency officials to figure out what jobs are the most important. Creating a plan to deal with all these requests will make it easier for you to get jobs done. If you want to be a resource for your community when needed, use the tips below to start working on your natural disaster recovery plan.
Natural Disasters and Their Impact
Natural disasters come in different forms. Depending on where you live, you could have wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. Flooding, mudslides, and blizzards can also cause damage.
If roads are blocked, emergency services can have a harder time getting to homes and businesses. Large amounts of debris slow cleanup efforts or cause power outages. If dangerous chemicals are released into the air, they could cause health problems. These issues can put people in danger long after the natural disaster has ended.
Your recovery plan should focus on the disasters most likely to happen in your area. A construction company can help out in these situations in many ways. You could use your equipment to move debris. Your workers could help out with making repairs or rebuilding homes.
Have your recovery plan ready to go before a major disaster strikes. This plan will help you to make the most of your available tools and staff. Plus, government officials are more likely to use your company for these tasks if you’re ready to deal with the challenges ahead.
Project Managing After the Natural Disaster
The first resources people turn to for assistance during a natural disaster are police, EMS, firefighters, and relief organizations such as the Red Cross. In many recent disasters, construction companies have become important resources, especially in areas where rebuilding is needed after a disaster.
In many natural disasters, property and land are badly damaged. Homes may be without gas, electricity, and water. These situations create challenges for emergency workers. Your construction company may be asked to help in the cleanup, so you need to be ready with a disaster recovery plan.
As part of your disaster recovery planning, decide who will be in charge of all the relief projects. This person will work with emergency organizations to figure out what needs to be done. Choose a project manager for each work site. The project manager will be the one to assign tasks to workers. This project manager will also organize all the details for getting the equipment, tools, and materials for each job.
Although you may be an important part of the relief work, you need to communicate with other emergency services. For example, follow FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) or Red Cross instructions when removing debris. If you’re helping to transport fuel, get instructions from utility workers. Make sure to keep receipts and record information. Organizations such as FEMA often give reimbursements for disaster relief.
Working on a natural disaster relief project can be hard. But with your recovery plan in place, you’ll be prepared to help out in a crisis.
What Contractors Can Expect at Disaster Sites
Some challenges are likely to come up while you help out after a disaster. Being prepared with a plan will help you to find solutions to each problem.
Poor communication and confusion can often happen at a disaster site. With many organizations working together, it may be hard to figure out what needs to be done. Be specific about how you can help. Provide emergency workers with a list of the resources you have. Let them know what types of jobs your workers can perform. Carefully follow all instructions and be sure to complete jobs efficiently and safely. Being detailed and following orders can help create a less confusing work site.
Another issue you may come across is rough terrain. Natural disasters can wreak havoc on the land. Tell your workers to be careful when working on uneven ground or in buildings with damage. To help out in these situations, have a plan in place for using your equipment to create safe paths. By removing debris and leveling the ground, you can allow emergency services to more easily reach people.
The Need for Heavy Equipment
Heavy equipment is an important resource during a natural disaster. Your construction company should be prepared to have crews ready to operate the machines.
Create a list of all your available equipment for your recovery plan. This reference will help you figure out what tasks you’re able to take on after a disaster.
The following types of equipment are ones you may need after a natural disaster. Discover how each one may be able to help you perform an important task:
- Backhoe: This type of machine is used for removing debris. It can also help even out land that has been damaged.
- Dump truck: Use dump trucks to haul away loads of debris.
- Excavator: The shovel part of an excavator digs out soil. It is useful for rebuilding homes or uncovering areas.
- Crane: If you need to reach a high place, make sure you have cranes available. The arm of the crane can lift materials to reach heights.
- Fuel truck: This truck can be used to pick up and deliver fuel. A fuel truck is helpful for people using generators and providing power for essential services.
- Water truck: A water truck can help put out a fire or help with construction tasks. Having a truck is helpful since water may be difficult to access after a disaster.
- Scissor lift: Use a scissor lift to access high areas for repair work.
- Boom lift: A boom lift can go higher than a scissor lift for repair work in high places.
Rental Equipment for Construction Companies
It can take months or years to complete the rebuilding process after a disaster. You’ll need to have access to more equipment than usual during this time. In addition to any equipment in your inventory, you can rent equipment to have access to more tools. With more machines, you can complete the work efficiently and help others get their lives back.
When you’re doing normal construction work, you may need only one dump truck, scissor lift, or backhoe. But after a disaster, the demand for construction projects could skyrocket. You should be prepared to rent extra equipment so that you can complete all these projects.
Renting is smarter than buying extra equipment for several reasons. Some of your disaster relief projects may be more complex than your usual projects. By renting, you can get the advanced equipment you need without a large investment.
Renting will also save you money in the long run since you’ll need only the extra machines for a short period of time. If you bought the equipment instead, you would have to deal with storage issues or reselling heavily used items after recovery is complete. With larger machines such as cranes and boom lifts, renting eliminates worries about storing, maintaining, and repairing such massive, complicated machines.
Finally, renting allows you to easily switch out equipment if your project needs change. Simply return your rental and get a different machine when you are done with one project and moving on to the next one. Using only the rentals you need is a great way to save money. It is especially important to make smart financial decisions if you are volunteering your time.
Safety Procedures for Disaster Recovery and Relief
Make sure you and your team are following all recommended safety procedures when helping out with disaster relief. Certain diseases can spread quickly after a natural disaster. Make sure your staff members have received vaccines before sending them to a work site. Some workers will also need to receive clearances from a doctor. It is important that all workers are prepared physically and mentally.
While making your long-term recovery plan, think about how you’ll take care of your team. You may need to provide food, water, lodging, and transportation for your workers. This plan is especially important if your crew will be traveling out of your area to provide support.
Give your company’s insurance provider a call. Ask about what type of coverage your company would receive if you and your workers provided aid after a natural disaster.
Don’t have workers operate any machines for which they have not received proper safety training. You may be shorthanded during a disaster, but putting safety first is always a priority.
When construction companies work together with first responders and nonprofit agencies, you can create a powerful force to provide disaster relief. Make sure safety is a priority while working on natural disaster relief projects. With the right equipment and preparation, you can help a community recover more quickly.