Who Will We Hire After the Wildfire?

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  • Author Hgrbs Nonprofit
  • Published December 1, 2020
  • Word count 786

[There are always heightened government concerns for our well-being in the aftermath of wildfires. Although there are good companies and individuals who can assist, the deepest concern is the threat of the predatory who are bent toward robbing us. We can prevent it.]

  • Foreword

There is no doubt that after the wildfire, there is a lot we must do to get our lives back in order. Among these vital necessities is to decide from which individuals and companies we will accept services. But let us first backtrack a moment to consider this awful wildfire season we have had, the worst in recorded American history (Los Angeles Times, 9/12/2020).

  • Scourge of Wildfires

Since the first series of wildfires burst through in the state of Washington in April, others began randomly popping up all along the west coast [the worst drought since 2013]. The largest erupted in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

For some, this ridiculously out-of-control phenomena has done all the damage it is going to do this season. But for others, it remains a widespread scorching demon with no end in sight. Those of us know, when the brunt of the viciousness of those merciless flames has also run their course, we will either rebuild or get our affairs in order – and leave. Yet, for many affected, there will be no mass exodus. We will remain. This is home. We will rebuild!

*After the Flames Have Died

As we who have survived return to where our homes once were, we pick through the soggy ash and debris unscathed by the wildfire (brick, stone, remnants of steel tools, etc.) to discover what is left. Is there anything we can salvage, or is it a total loss? It is at about this time that many of us may be approached by various vocations and levels of building trades personnel, i.e., home builders, debris haulers, general cleanup “specialists,” etc. However, we may want to go very slow on hiring since there is a very high likelihood that most offering services are not as qualified and willing to help as they seem to be.

  • Real-time Urgency In The Aftermath

It was not long ago when a report was released by KDRV [Oregon, 11/10/2020] about building tradespeople (such as contractors working residentially)who are masquerading as representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are reportedly going door-to-door, offering services for testing ash and debris. What is more, according to the story, they are charging unsuspecting private home heads upfront fees upwards to $1200 for taking samples and examining them to determine if whether they are hazardous to the household.

Remember, these are individuals and companies falsely presenting themselves as “EPA certified contractors.” They are tricking innocent people into paying advanced fees for conducting tests which they are neither authorized nor qualified to perform. They are illegal, but residents have no way of knowing without first conducting a deep reputation check. This is also referred to as a “proper service validation.”

Essentially, this criminal element preys on homeowners already suffering from the effects of wildfires. They are victimizing us again. They are stealing money from people already upset over losing practically everything! But do we think these unsavory contractors really care? Further, the pattern is for these nefarious types to continue robbing residents in this way, going from one disaster area to another. Often, they disappear without a trace.

  • Summary

The prospect of malicious types roving from disaster to disaster is not isolated to Oregon. It stems to victims of the wildfires in Idaho, Colorado, California, and several other states along the Pacific Coast. It happens every wildfire season. We may want to be ready to identify and deflect, especially unknown individuals and companies, who offer contracting services after the fact. They could take us for far more than $1200.

Fortunately, HGRBS offers critical information, especially for residents of the private home sector. Those of us affected can find the anti-fraud data it offers very useful for identifying building tradesmen/women for “whom and what” they really are. This can help us avoid the double jeopardy often brought against us by such “disaster contractors.”

*Readers interested in learning more about bettering our contractor hiring priorities can download this free HGRBS homeowner’s guide: “Roving Phantoms in the Aftermath of Disaster- Part 2, Wildfires.”

There is no sign-up. Open-source access. [link provided in Resource Box ahead]

“Better Decisions, Better Results”

Comments always welcome.

Edited with special assistance from S. Swanson

Public Courtesy – HGRBS – Since 2009

*HGRBS, is a national volunteer nonprofit offering exclusive consumer information service with an emphasis on supporting self-empowerment among U.S. private home decision-makers. Special focus on sharing related information enabling residents to make the safest and wisest decisions in resident-contractor relations. *

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