QUICK RESPONSE FORCE: HOW RESTORATION CONTRACTORS MIMIC THE MILITARY
Posted on February 20, 2015 by Ryan Oldham
In 1993, as an 18 year old Army recruit from Kansas, I was very naïve and completely unprepared for an 8-week military epiphany that is dubiously called “basic” training. Fort Jackson, SC was a long way from home and when the drill sergeants opened the bus door and began screaming, “Welcome to the house of pain!” (popular band at the time), I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. To survive you must rapidly adapt and learn to make quick decisions. Hesitation was not an option. By the end of basic I had learned to trust my training and react with a natural confidence, even under ridiculous amounts of stress and fatigue.
Training, immediate response, and confident decision making under stress are all integral qualities of a successful restoration company. From the moment an emergency disaster call comes in, a restoration company is on the clock to communicate, asses, and develop a strategic plan for the immediate mitigation process to start. Contracts to restore property can often be won or lost in the first 24 hours after a loss. I am constantly amazed to see how fast a restoration company can have a plan together and mobilize equipment, supplies and labor to the site of a loss. Within 12 hours of a large loss I have seen semi-loads of equipment set up and running with project managers directing 100 restoration labor workers. Three days later the manufacturing facility was up and running again. How is this accomplished? Years of training, experience and having protocol in place before the call comes in.
In the military a QuickResponseForce is a unit, generally platoon-sized, that is capable of rapid response to developing situations. They have equipment and personal ready to respond to almost any type of emergency. The speed of the expected reaction is defined by its Readiness Condition, or REDCON, level. This very much parallels the restoration industry. While some disasters like structure fires are unexpected, most restoration emergencies will follow immerging weather patterns such as long periods of freezing, hurricanes, drought or flooding.
Restoration companies have evolved over the years to anticipate weather patterns and other potential situations that have a high likelihood of generating emergency calls. When these situations arise the restoration contactor elevates its REDCON (readiness condition) level in order to respond to multiple situations with much more efficiency and speed than usual. This often begins by having a strategy meeting among the higher ranking officers in the company “war” room. It is in that war room meeting that action plans are developed, key response personnel are identified and the readiness protocol is carefully communicated to the rest of the staff. When the pipes start to thaw or the flood waters begin to recede, the restoration contractor is prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice with zero hesitation. One of the primary tasks of the military’s QRF is to provide backup and prevent the loss of life. The primary task of the restoration contractor’s QRF is to provide property owners with confidence that their loss is being limited and that complete restoration will be accomplished.