Disaster Relief: How Can You Help?

Disaster Relief: How Can You Help?

When disaster strikes, many people look for ways that they can help. As an electrician, you may want to put your professional skills to work in order to help those in need. The only problem is, where do you start? There are a few different ways that you can assist with disaster relief, but how you go about it depends on whether you’re located in the affected area or if you live elsewhere.

Here are just a few of the ways that you can assist with disaster relief. Keep in mind that there may be other options depending on where you’re located, the type of disaster that occurred and how large an area was affected by the disaster.

Disaster Contracting

According to the Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, FEMA is required to hire local contractors from areas affected by a disaster when possible. This doesn’t mean that you should try to contact FEMA directly about contract work, however; most of the funds for contractors are actually diverted to the state and local governments.

Keep an eye out for calls for bids related to disaster relief if a disaster strikes your area. You may also wish to call up any local or state government contacts that you have, especially if they work with public housing or urban renewal. If nothing else, they may be able to point you in the right direction so you can contact the parties that are making the contracting decisions.

Volunteering for Disaster Relief

Being hired as a contractor isn’t the only way to help out during a disaster. You can also volunteer your services as an electrician to help with safe recovery efforts. There are a number of organizations such as the American Red Cross that coordinate volunteer efforts, so contact them and see if there is anything you can do to help. Let them know that you’re a licensed electrician and that you are willing to assist with recovery efforts; if they aren’t handling those portions of recovery, they may be able to put you in touch with a volunteer coordinator who is.

Organizing Food and Donation Drives

Even if you aren’t donating your professional skills to help with disaster relief, there are still other ways you can help. Food and goods drives are common in a lot of communities after a disaster hits, so you can volunteer to help organize and run these drives. If there aren’t any drives in your community, you can even choose to spearhead one. In addition to collecting and organizing donated goods, you may also choose to volunteer work vehicles to help transport goods to the affected areas.

If all else fails, you can simply choose to donate money to organizations working in the disaster area to help ensure that they can keep up the good work. Be sure to research any organization that you donate to because unfortunately, there are always people who try and take advantage of the situation; groups such as the Red Cross are trustworthy, and there may be official groups and funds set up for disaster relief in specific areas as well. Regardless of what you’re able to do, it’s important to remember that every little bit helps when trying to help those affected by a disaster.

Have you (or anyone on your crew) ever assisted in an area that was hit by a disaster? If so, when, where and how?

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