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  1. #1
    Big Daddy Guest

    Default Florida Disaster

    I forgot to mention a long time ago that as a road trip addict, I became a licensed FEMA Inspector, in the hopes I would be deployed to a major disaster site at some point. So here I sit in Orlando Florida, directly across from Walt Disney World, after being deployed to inspect damages caused by Hurricane Charley, and Tropical Storm Bonnie. Florida hasnt seen a hurricane of this magnitude for some time. Its residents are resiliant, but even the most adaptable are finding it hard to cope with 100 degree temps and 95 percent humidity when all air conditioning is out. Its a mess down here. FEMA ( Federal Emergency Management Agency ) has been absolutely fascinating in bringing contract inspectors like me from the four corners of the globe(Seattle is where I reside) to help with this disaster. It takes a great deal of foresight and planning to organize a relief effort of this size in just days after a disaster. I am posting this message, as I have already seen more than my share of destruction and discomfort these natural disasters can bring on not only a community, but an entire state. It is devastating to witness, and to see first hand. To the People of Florida....we will do our best while here! The real reason why I post from here is two fold. First.....obviously, I cant really take the time to add to my travelblog on our Yellowstone trip.....too busy.....Second, and most important to my road tripping friends is this: You can earn a fantastic living while on the road! I happened to meet a fellow road tripper while at the airport, who was coming from Nebraska to help with this disaster. he said that both he and his wife were full time RV'rs who also were disaster trained inspectors. They had just finished working the Michigan flood disasters and were headed to Florida...to work Hurricane Charley. They told me the money they make from being contractor FEMA Disaster Housing Inspectors would keep them on the road for two years. I was stricken with the idea to post this, as so many want to be full timers. Without divulging the contract companies who work disasters, or the dollar specifics, I can say that motivated inspectors can do very well becoming licensed to do disaster inspections.Not only do they profit, but they help so many in the process. These folks also formed a company so they could deduct the cost of their travel, expenses, and even the motor home they used to work this disaster and others. I did some math......it is not only feasible, but probable you can full time doing this.....but please, do your own investigation into the tax and income potentials, and liabilities.
    Okay, that is all I have to report now. I, like I said, am in Kissimmee, and the damage here is extensive.I will be here for three months. I wish everyone safe and happy travels, and try to remember your neighbors in Florida.....they need our support and good wishes! Big Daddy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Pretty Fascinating

    Dave,

    I have worked as a Red Cross disaster assessment specialist, but this is the first I have heard of a FEMA (paid) assignment.

    Thanks for the post.

    mark

  3. #3
    Guest

    Default More details

    Can you post some more details about this? I actually thought about working for FEMA at one point, but I not thought about the roadtrip angle to all of it. It's just seemed to coincide with another of my interest, natural disasters and extreme weather and emergency preparedness.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I share all of those interests

    I am working on obtaining some info about the program for a future <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/GettingOutThere/Directory.htm">Getting Out There<a/> article. One of the jobs that is available is the Inspector/Verifier assessment specialist that visits every address in a disaster zone and enters info into the national database.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Big Daddy Guest

    Default News From the Front....

    For those interested in this, FEMA does not employ Disaster Dwelling Inspectors/Damage Verifiers themselves, but rather contracts that facet of its deployment to two primary Engineering Companies. These companies do not employ full time inspectors, but rather collect qualified independent inspectors to do the job. The two primary contracters both have fantastic web sites. The first, the one I am contracted through is http://www.parrinspections.com The second company is http://www.pbinspections.com. FEMA contracts with both of these firms for disaster housing inspectors. After you obtain certification with either company, you will be asked if you are available for deployment. You can remove yourself from active deployment status at any time. When a disaster is declared, FEMA WILL CHOOSE ONE, OR SOMETIMES BOTH OF THESE COMPANIES TO ACTIVATE THEIR INSPECTORS INTO THE FIELD. The cost of getting to the disaster site is paid for by the contracting company. It is grueling to come into a disaster, and heartwrenching, but the reward is that you are being paid to facilitate disaster relief to thousands of people. And they do appreciate us being here. Qualifications are: A fair knowledge of the building trade, and certification by the engineering company. They provide all of the field computers and information needed to do the inspections. It is a well orchestrated event. I must say, you might be deployed for a long time, but I have already met several road tripping teams who make this their sole income, and are comfortable on the road. Happy Travels All!

  6. #6
    Guest

    Default Update

    Just wondering if there was any new information on this job. Still considering doing something like this, especially after watching the whole Mt. St Helens thing, the urge to take a roadtrip is getting stronger.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Not for the faint of heart

    As you may remember, I am working on article about this issue and your message is a good reminder to get crackin' on it. It is on the editorial calendar for the 31st of October.

    I can tell you that "Big Daddy" is working killer hours. The eye of Jeanne passed directly over the motel he was staying in, and... it was not a fun experience. Very tough for the field personnel to find drinking water and food (much like everyone else) when the situations are the most extreme. And although this is not a "Federal" job in the strictest sense of the word, I am sure that he wouldn't mind the characterization of periods of boredom interrupted by periods of total hell interupted by copious amounts of paperwork. As of this writing, it is unclear whether the income is sufficiently attractive to justify the aggravations.

    What is clear, is that under no circumstances would you want to take a personal vehicle (or any other equipment you hold dear) into a disaster work area. By the time I publish the article I will have a better overview of how this profession might be used to fund a road trip lifestyle.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Big Daddy Guest

    Default Mt ST Helens

    Man, can u believe my Karma? The only natural disaster I have ever wanted to witness is a volcanic action of any kind, and bam! My wife calls me and says look at CNN, St Helens is erupting! And here, I am in FLA man!
    Well, a road trip to near St Helens would be cool about now, however, I seriously doubt FEMA will be involved in any aspect of this eruption series as there is little threat to houses or life in the area.
    I will post a little about what a roadtripper might look for if he wanted to do FEMA work after Marks post.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It must not be doing it now?

    Dave,

    After reading your post, I hyper-jumped to CNN -- but I think Mt. St. Helens is mellowing and the USGS folks think she is cooling off some.

    Feel free to post away on your comments about FEMA and roadtrippers anytime you want -- you are in the cat-bird seat and so your thoughts will have an immediacy that my article will have in much lesser detail.

  10. #10
    kristy Guest

    Default Mt. St. Helens

    This was my first natural disaster. I still remember being so excited that it was "snowing" days before my birthday and asking if i could have a sledding party!!! Not only was the answer no but we were confined to the house for a week!!!! It is definately a sight to see though. I still have a jar of ash.

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