I have pondered a lot about disaster preparedness after watching and reading about Hurricane Harvey. I used to think I was be prepared since most of my data is stored and backed up in the cloud. After reading some of the first hand accounts of the people affected, I finally realized my thinking was too linear, it isn't just about my data!
As the owner/broker of Progressive Realty Corporation in Boise, Idaho; I started expanding my thinking to see what else it might impact.
- What about the impact on my agents and their families
- What about my clients and their families
- What about all my pending sales and listings - they would evaporate quicker than the water
- How would I rebuild my company if I was too busy rebuilding my own home
As I watched the news this morning, I was pleased to see how technology was expediting the damage assessments. Satelite images of before and after make it pretty quick for insurance companies to determine the extent of the damage with date stamped images (at least of the exterior). Drones are being used to fly over areas that are still not safe to inspect in person. They talked about how this new application of technology lets insurance companies know about potential claims even before families have a chance to report them! This gave me a lot of hope.
Then, I thought back to the days of Hurricane Mathew last year that hit the coast of Florida and luckily stayed about 5 miles off shore near Daytona Beach area where I have family. It has been almost a year and there are still homes with damage waiting to be repaired. I remember seeing signs warning about scams and unlicensed people doing repairs.
What if we had companies that are approved in advance for national disaster repairs? For example, the trash removal, water / mold remediation, and roofing contractors in the path of Hurricane Harvey are not scaled for the huge amount of work that has to be done immediately to prevent further damage. Why not have a process in place that allows the fast tracking of temporary contractor licensing to expedite the repairs? Maybe this is based on large national/international companies like the insurance companies that can be allowed to use these pre-vetted temporary contractors to work on their behalf?
Another thing that is missing during a major emergency is management. What if major corporations had the ability to donate management expertise instead of just money? Think of it as kind of National Management similar to National Guard. Major corporations could have their experts in logistics, contracting, human resource management, etc., all be trained and ready to be called up in time of emergency. I think we could do more good sometimes with better management than just by sending more money.
Does FEMA have a suggestion box online that people can send these types of suggestions to? Do any of you have additional suggestions that might be implemented during the next natural disaster?