In 2017, Houston ranked fifth in a list of the 10 riskiest places for natural disasters. The other Texas cities that made the list were Austin, which ranked second, and Dallas, which ranked fourth.
Houston is no stranger to disaster, unfortunately. Houston, particularly Harris County, has declared 27 disasters from 1964 to 2015. In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. The calamity resulted in devastating flooding, requiring clearing and reconstructing in many areas. There was an increased demand for equipment such ascranes for heavy lifting for rent in Houston to be used in post-disaster clearing and recovery operations.
Because of the high disaster risk, local groups and private companies make it a point to be prepared to respond to disasters in Houston. Here is how you, your community, organization, or company can take part in disaster recovery efforts.
Coordinate with Organized Volunteer Organizations
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises those interested in helping with disaster recovery to do so through coordination with volunteer organizations that are active in ongoing disaster operations. The primary point of contact in this regard is the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).
National VOAD members work closely with affected areas to aid in feeding survivors, provide assistance with debris removal, and in some cases, offer support with temporary housing. FEMA strongly discourages volunteer individuals and groups from self-deploying to impacted zones. This is to ensure the safety, training, and housing of volunteers.
Clear Roadways and Reinforce Structures to Better Withstand Disaster
Two of the immediate needs of communities affected by disaster is roadway clearing and rebuilding. Roadway clearing allows trucks and other vehicles used in disaster relief to reach impacted areas. The aim of rebuilding, on the other hand, should be to provide residents with more resilient homes so that they will be better protected when another disaster strikes.
Your organization or company can hire to aid in clearing operations (in coordination with Houston authorities, of course) or raise funds for home restoration and improvement.
Get Involved In Planning For Long-Term Recovery
Even as the community is slowly rebuilding, you must think of long-term recovery. This includes hazard mitigation, where you adopt projects and policies intended to reduce the risk of and exposure to future hazards. It may involve the relocation or elevation of flood-prone structures and the adoption of new or modified standards or building codes.
In all of these activities, make sure you work closely with all stakeholders, from members of your community to your local council. Keep in mind that in disaster recovery, coordination is key!