It has been two years ago since I wrote "What the CAT Just Happened", which gave insights and tips to prepare for disaster. This was written immediately after the Polar Vortex of 2014 that went beyond a regional disaster to a national disaster, hitting areas all over the country.  
Most of us who are in the restoration and disaster/emergency response business have our stories. There was the time I ordered in a tractor trailer of rental equipment to prepare for hurricane Sandy; 99% chance of hitting the area that I served, and then I woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Sandy took a slight turn that took the hurricane almost exactly around the outside of our service area.
Then, there was the time that I went into my office for a phone call, shut the door, and emerged from my office 20 minutes later to a full Catastrophe Response Operation. An extremely harsh hail storm hit our area leaving a trail of mass destruction. The hail storm that took a little county in Pennsylvania by surprise made national news in May 2014.  
In the world of restoration, preparing for disaster is really about always being ready for disaster. Sometimes you know it is coming or you think it is coming, and sometimes it takes you by surprise. Regardless of the type and magnitude, disasters happen. When they do, there are opportunities for restorers who are prepared. In the words of Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
One of the many key ingredients to being prepared to serve in a disaster scenario is resources. Resources include but are not limited to: inventory, equipment, human, and specialty.  
Here is a detailed list of things you should take into consideration for managing resources for disasters:
1. Supply Inventories: Critical supplies should be evaluated and/or ordered. 

a. A combination of training, best practices/protocols, experience, and lists will help your organization quickly evaluate critical supplies and materials that may be needed at increased inventory levels.

b. Make the ordering process fast and easy by having vendor information readily available with detailed information of supply.  

c. Everyone has their favorite supplies and suppliers; however, good preparation should include a list of alternative supplies and/or suppliers. Consider the fact that in regional situations, supplies in the disaster-struck region could deplete very quickly.  

2. Equipment Inventories: In addition to the considerations above, the following also apply to equipment: 

a. Equipment should be field ready. Everything should be in good repair.  
b. Be prepared to rent equipment. 
i. Have multiple suppliers’ information and pricing readily available.  
ii. Have a plan within your operation to manage and rotate the rental equipment. You will need to return it within a certain time frame.  
3. Manpower: Have a guide and protocol to obtain additional manpower. Have all relevant contact information organized and easily accessible. Rates should be agreed upon in advance.    
a. Subcontractors: Proactively ask new and existing subcontractors if they are willing to assist you in a disaster response effort and agree on the rate.  
b. Employment Agencies: Have relationships with agencies established and make sure they understand your requirements, needs, rules, and rates.
c. Other Contractors: Have restoration “friends” in other areas. Networking with other restoration contractors can give you the ability to quickly access trained staff from unaffected areas to assist in the efforts.  
4. Specialty: Based on a variety of factors, there may be additional specialty needs that you should be prepared to execute.  
a. Commercial concerns due to your region or in evaluating past customers may bring to light the need for specialty resources.
b. Artwork/Documents/Antiquities/Contents/Computers/Generators
c. Dumpsters/Landfills
5. Financial: Large scale disasters may quickly deplete your funds and/or put a strain on your cash flows during and immediately following a response. Be prepared with a line of credit and have a good banking relationship who understands your business and the cash flow impact of a disaster.    
When it comes to getting the resources you need and being prepared to use them when disaster strikes, it is critical to maintain and develop good relationships with business partners.
Pay your bills on-time, create win-win relationships, be professional, and then when you need extra resources you will get the support you need. Once you have lined up all of your resources for a pending disaster, make sure the information is accessible to everyone in your company who may need it. Train your team on how to manage a disaster and the resources.  
Lastly, create a resourceful culture. Sometimes you need something in the middle of a response that you did not anticipate, sometimes what you need is hard to find or depleted. Being resourceful can save the day.    
Although resources are only one element of a well-planned effort to respond to wide-spread disaster, they are critical. Be prepared by deliberately and thoughtfully organizing and preparing the resources you need for the next disaster.
A Note from R&R's Editor: The May issue of R&R revolves around being prepared for disaster response. Be sure you are subscribed! The issue will cover everything from working with adjusters, to making sure your website can handle the traffic influx and you can assist as many customers as possible.