According to the National Fire Protection Association there were 487,500 structure fires in 2013 that caused an estimated $9.5 billion in damages. That is roughly one structure fire every 65 seconds. Properties are also damaged or destroyed by flooding, tornadoes, hail, wildfires, and other
disasters causing billions of dollars in damages to countless homes, businesses, and communities. Once the fire is out or the storm passes, people find themselves faced with the daunting task of trying to rebuild their lives. This is when less than reputable contractors (licensed or unlicensed), public adjusters, cleaning companies, and other “disaster chasers” show up to cash in. With the lure of a big insurance payday, vulnerable disaster survivors become prime targets for those who make a living off of disasters. Although some companies that follow disasters may be legitimate, but many are not. All too often people who have suffered the loss of their home fall prey to scams, misinformation, or high pressure sales tactics that ultimately devastates them further.
A Recovery Road-Map
Until recently, when first responders left the scene of a disaster, the survivors were left to figure out their recovery on their own. For those who lost their home or became displaced, this was often the beginning of a nightmare. Now fire departments have a new tool to help people get back on their feet, a tool that
also raises awareness of the many pitfalls that present themselves in the aftermath of disaster events. It’s
called The Red Guide to Recovery – Resource Handbookfor Disaster Survivors. Written by Sean Scott, a restoration contractor with over 35 years in the construction and disaster restoration industry, this
uniquc book walks disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process in a detailed, yet eæ;y to read format. It covers a wide range of topics including how to avoid scams, how to handle insurance claims, safety tips, hazardous material precautions, smoke and water damage issues, and much more.
“When I saw The Red Guide for the first time, I knew it was a tool that should be carried on every fire truck in America. It’s the least we can do when our work is done at the scene of a fire or disaster in
support a family who may have lost everything. We want to be able to provide this to the residents Desert Hills so we could give them some direction and to assist them in beginning the recovery process as soon as possible” Said Pat Dennen, Interim Fire Chief for the Desert Hills Fire District. Chief Dennen also added that the Desert Hills Fire District is the first fire department in Arizona to make this publication available to its residents.
“Aller seeing what people wenl On-ough after wildfires swept through Southern California in 2003 and again in 2007, which destroyed over 6,000 homes and damaged countless others, I felt compelled to create a resource for first responders so they wouldn’t have to leave people empty handed. To this day
there are vacant lots in my community where homes used to be, that are stark reminders of the lives that
were forever changed by the fires. Most of those families will never return home and were victimized by circumstances that in some cases could have been avoided. The Red Guide provides first responders with a lifeline that firefighters will hand out, so people will have the information they need to rebuild their lives.” Said Sean Scott.