Before, During, & After – How Hurricane Response Evolves

Hurricane Preparation: Before the Storm

September is National Preparedness Month and part of having an actionable hurricane contingency plan is preparing before a threat is ever present. If you run a business, for example, you should know exactly what your daily operations take to function – and include all those specifications in your contingency plan so responders can prioritize reconstruction and minimize your down time as much as possible.

Just as businesses should plan ahead, hurricane response planning for us begins in early May, ahead of the Northeast’s major hurricane season, and is followed by weeks of preparation and planning. We expect that these plans will change and adapt as events unfold, but it’s an important starting point for commercial businesses and restoration companies alike.

Once planning is completed, Interstate crews begin mobilizing to arrive in the area ahead of the storm.

During the storm

While our teams are hunkered down during the worst of the storm, project directors work out how triage at the site will be handled. Calls flood in from the area, helping directors assess where crews need to respond first as soon as the worst of the storm passes.

Teams are also on hand to manage vendors while the storm is active, making sure fuel vendors, dumpsters, porta-potties, and all necessary resources for restoration will be available as soon as it becomes safe enough to start work.

After the Storm Passes

As soon as the danger of the storm passes, the heavy lifting begins. Directors follow and adapt triage plans, prioritizing demolition work and debris removal. Demolition crews clear major problems, removing gross debris from residual flooding and storm damage.

Moisture, asbestos, and lead surveys are all conducted, and teams assess structural damage to establish which structures are salvageable. Cleaning crews follow, and work is tested by third-party industrial hygienists to make sure work meets code. More often than not, buildings are left cleaner than when they were originally built.

Once the gross debris is removed and facilities are cleaned appropriately, hurricane reconstruction teams are called in to begin their work repairing structural damage and returning buildings to pre-storm conditions.

About the Author: Brian Wooley
Brian is the Director of Restoration Services at Interstate and has led our national response efforts through numerous area wide events (including Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy, the Joplin tornado, etc). As a 13 year industry veteran, Brian has expertise in all aspects of our restoration services, and serves as our “quarterback” when disaster strikes.