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The ins and outs of working at a natural disaster site

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by turfmagazine, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. turfmagazine

    turfmagazine LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 95

    Jim @ TURF magazine here ...

    In view of what's happening in LA and surrounding areas, we want to create a series of articles about contractors experience in working in areas after a natural disaster occurs.

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask this ... but here goes:

    If you have any experience in dealing with this type of situation, could you please email pwhitevt@aol.com I'd expect some folks in Florida are veterans of this kind of thing ... what they encountered ... problems ... payment from the government ... every issue.

    Patrick White is our top writer. He's going to do the series (thatt's his email above). He wants to talk to folks who have actually had the experience with this situation. Thanks!!!
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I've been through Hugo and Isabelle but they were just mild drizzles with a bit of a breeze where a few little trees fell on a few thousand houses and the rivers flooded minor neighborhoods and the damages cost a few tiny little millions.

    Here's the run-down:
    Lets just skip all the hoopla with the wind when it sounds like a freighttrain running AT your house and pretend it's already over.
    Ok so right then, absolutely nothing happens for at least a few days. You know it's in the news all over the country but you are completely isolated. The roads are shut down and NOBODY is coming. You WOULD leave, but you can't. No, trust me on this, you can NOT leave.

    Are you asking me why?
    Here's the answer: Stop being an Azzhole

    You have no lights, no running water, no telephones but see what most people don't understand is when it's like that, there is NOTHING to DO!
    You can't go anywhere, there's road outages everywhere and everything is f*cked just like you and yours, so what's the point? No TV, you can't cook, you can't wash or clean stuff, so you sit and wait, and then you sit and wait some more, and then some more, and right when you really can't stand it anymore, start all over: Sit and wait again until your butt gets REAL sore, then you can walk in circles until you're tired and sit down again.

    Thus absolute boredom is the setting followed by a WANT to do something accompanied by the realization that you CAN'T! You THINK you can start cleaning up some of the mess, but what would you do with it, where would you take it? So you guessed it, sit and wait some more.

    All would not be lost, however, were it not for the worst of the worst of the worst, and even thou you strongly suspect it, due to the fact of absolute nothingness happening all around you suddenly you can no longer resist to try the famed PC click (oh trust me, we GOT the PC running!) and of course now you know it for certain: Absolutely NO Internet !!!!
    You would play some solitaire but... you know you are doomed at this point.
    You then unhook all the rigmarole you put together to create enough power to start the PC (or whatever it was you got started, it's a little different for everybody) and put it away in case you need it later to build a homemade atomic bomb for self-defense or anything else you might think of can come in handy at a time like this, no need to waste it, right?

    A few days later (2 or 3 for smaller winds), things SLOWLY (and think SLOW) start to get in motion but don't get TOO excited because there's 6-12 months coming for that.

    So after the first few days you hear about the looting thou I never saw one, nobody ever stole from me, nobody threatened me, but you hear about it and you think about humans in general thou you also wonder if the looters and the non-looters flock as birds of a feather and fly in separate directions, because I swear to you I have NEVER seen a looter except on tv... So, the looters do their thing I guess, me and the people around did ours and we thought about it all a lot as we sat, and waited. There is one way in which I can understand a looter, if such a person exists and that is the fact that the sitting and waiting for SOMEONE to *HELP* gets REAL OLD and maybe a looter just got so tired and bored and restless, they went off to do the only thing there IS to do. But whatever, thanks for being cool to me because once things actually started happening, the looters magically disappeared.
    Just when you thought you'd feel some relief, they are quickly replaced by the curiosity seekers whom you WILL see and the feeling you get is similar to what I feel right now informing those who ask the stupid question of what it's like. It's kind of like, you've just been in a horrible car crash, your wife and children are dead, your car is totalled and your dog got run over while dragging you to safety, you somehow survived but the question that bothered you the most the entire time was WHERE the HELL is the ambulance as you waited for hours, and hours, and hours... And finally the ambulance shows up but by now you figured it out, you're done, you're doomed, right? Yeah, and right then come the crowds of people all fascinated by you, one at a time, each one has to ask the same question: What was it like?
    THAT pissed me off a LOT worse than the looting.

    Then, I don't know what to call these folk, thou some do it one time and others do it for a living... Some might call them storm-chasers but basically, they are folks who MOVE to another state due to a natural disaster but instead of away from it they move TO the location. Even thou some of them are really helpful and truly right in their heart and they come to help with donations and want nothing in return, you also have the greedy sobs who bring all their equipment and it wouldn't be so bad except you can see the dollar-signs in EVERY one of them's eyes, and it tests you.
    So then it's all a lot of bs with all the people who wanna get a piece of the big WOopie but I must admit, FINALLY something is getting DONE and things are happening and life slowly resumes its course.
    That's how it is.
    Yes, every time.

    If you'd like to experience this above scenario sometime, oh I HIGHLY recommend you IMMEDIATELY move to FLORIDA or ANY of the hurricane-prone areas, it truly IS something I would not want you to miss, especially if you're still wondering what it's like :rolleyes:
    p.s.: yes, it can kill you.
  3. turfmagazine

    turfmagazine LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 95


    I'm almost sorry I asked. Sounds horrible.

    We're in Northern Vermont. The worst that happens here is a blizzard knocks out power @ 20 below for a day or two ... and we stoke up the wood stove and turn on the mini-generator for the fridge and water pump.
  4. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    I bet you are sorry you asked. I would assume as well that a lot of people here have experience providing services to disaster areas. I look forward to reading about it.

    I plan on wearing my $ sign sun glassed to La. soon.

    As far as you Topsite....I'm sorry you've suffered so much. You obviously harbor ill feelings for people who came to captialize off of those storms. Then you turn around and wwhore out your soul(opps POUR out your soul) in the hopes of 15 mins of fame when someone from a Magazine shows up. Honesty is the difference between the two...

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