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Tom Raymond

Licensing and Disaster Inspections

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I just registered to do FEMA Disaster Inspections. The Independent Contractor Agreement states that I am responsible to comply with any local licensing laws. Considering the hullabaloo over FHA inspectors and consultants and State licensing I am wondering if State HI boards are applying the same logic here?

Do I need a NJ license if FEMA wants to send me to Hoboken?

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Tom,

have you done them before? Chad did a tour of duty and his experiences were very interesting and educational. I hope you consider posting here regarding your experience(s).

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No I haven't.

When Katrina hit two of my brothers were working for a tree service and went down for the clean up. The work was hard, conditions were unpleasant, and the people were...well, people. I recall one story about a homeowner pissed that they dug up his lawn with the prentice loader.

I've heard Fabry's stories. I hope my experience is less colorful.

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There was one incident involving a school building in south Louisiana that was badly damaged by hurricane Rita in Sept, 2005. FEMA initially awarded a sum to repair the school which had flooded above it's rooftops. The award was later rescinded and when the public complained, FEMA blamed the inspector saying he had misrepresented the condition.

I worked for the SBA at that time. They stand behind their inspectors.

Marc

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I was in Houston after Hurricane Ike doing Insurance Adjusting.

One time was plenty for me.

I had local police looking over my should to help protect me due to thugs out doing what they do and it didn't matter which neighborhood.

Got paid well, but worked my butt off and the insurance desk jockeys were unrelenting in their demands at all hours and didn't seem to even care about the headaches an adjuster encounters when conditions are like a '3rd world country".

I would often get calls at 8:00AM from the insurance desk jockey asking me what I was doing? By that time of day I was on my 2nd or 3rd roof of the morning. They would start off demanding updated reports from the prior day and I would advise them to look at their 'inbox' for the e-mail and they would find all they were looking for. They would reply with they hadn't had time to look there yet. DUH!!

I got paid well, but that was a once and done for me.

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The major problem doing FEMA inspections is the time commitment that the contractors want. PaRR and Parsons want upwards of 4-6 week commitments or longer. If you have a business you basically shut the door to do the FEMA inspections.

In the past when I did them, they did not let you deploy to your own state. When Katrina hit I lived in MS, I could not work in that state I had to work in LA or TX. I could have stayed in my own home, driven a few miles in my own truck and worked; but no, I had to fly to LA and rent a car and stay in a hotel.

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I'm sure a lot of us got the e-mail from ASHI yesterday "Disaster Inspectors Needed" - it seems the two companies that got the contracts (Partnership for Response & Recovery (PaRR) and Parson Brinckerhoff Disaster Services)) for the mess Sandy made need inspectors. I would not mind doing it just for a change of pace, but like Scott said I'd have to close my doors for awhile. Besides my wife is not a fan of the idea. A lot of traveling while I was in the military leaving her at home with 2 kids left a sour taste in her mouth.

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My fingerprint cards showed up today along with a folded envelope to return them in. Do Not Bend is printed on the folded envelope.

The comments from you experienced guys, the latest weather system moving into that area, and the idea winter is close, are really making me think hard about it.

On the other hand, what an adventure!

Tom, the dog was covered before I sent you that link.[;)] There's a redhead and a herd of cats living here now. I might need to escape this for a while. Do they really need that much stuff in the bathroom?

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My son-in-law from North Mississippi is deploying with Parsons today for NJ. He has committed to a 3-4 week deployment. This will be his third deployment in the past 4 years. He and his father are driving up with a travel trailer that they will live in. They make pretty good money by not staying in hotels and they can pick up and move and not worry about a place to stay.

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It's been a while, but there have been some interesting developments with PB Disaster Services.

I went in November. I spent 2 days obtaining provisions and packing for unknown conditions, 2 days driving there and back, 1 day in briefing, and 4 days waiting for an assignment that never happened. That little sortie cost me over $2000 in gas, tolls, provisions, and lost wages. I was reimbursed $.047 per mile, almost $400.

Two days ago I get a call that my 72 hour expedited finger prints have been approved by FEMA (8 weeks later) and they want me to complete the background check so that I can be deployed again. Naturally, I was pissed that they had the nerve to expect me to jump, and I made it pretty clear to the poor gal on the phone just how displeased I was with her employer.

We weren't in any position to flush $1600 down the toilet in November, and I fear that it could happen again.

Given all that, my wife thinks I should give it another go. I have serious reservations about working for someone that thinks 'sorry for the inconvenience' is adequate compensation for a week long thousand mile road trip to study lame power point presentations.

Has anybody had a similar experience with PB?

Would/did you go back?

Does PARR treat their contractors any better?

Thanks.

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PB gets more work than PaRR. If you're serious about working, they'll throw as much as you can handle in your direction. Do an excellent job and they'll bury you with work. Keep the turn around at three days and they'll have smoke leaking out of your computer.

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No, that's not reasonable. They treat you like you're a mercenary. You'll be inspector 48919. They're in business, they'll do to you whatever is most profitable for them. In the mean-time, you can make some significant money.

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No, that's not reasonable. They treat you like you're a mercenary. You'll be inspector 48919. They're in business, they'll do to you whatever is most profitable for them. In the mean-time, you can make some significant money.

Looks like Tom's skill in disaster inspecting has become commoditized. He's a can or box on a pseudo Wal-Mart shelf. When an inspection of that type is needed, PB goes to the store and picks one up. They don't see a name, just a commodity.

No offense Tom, but a lot in this society is turning into that.

Marc

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None taken, that is precisely what happened to me, and at least 100 others who were briefed the same day. They were briefing 130 to 160 people per day they week I was there. I was fortunate to have relatives close enough to stay with, a hotel would have doubled my losses.

I may complete the background screening, but I think I'm done with this disaster. I suffered greater losses then either of my relatives that live in NJ.

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