Tractors for Disaster Relief?

   #1  

Tractorable

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I was on a plane last night reading an article about a restaurant owner who created a charitable organization to feed large numbers of people in Puerto Rico after the hurricane destroyed the island last year. It got me thinking, since we’re all a bunch of guys with tractors, trucks, trailers, and chainsaws, could a grass roots organization of tractor owners be mobilized to provide disaster relief for communities that have suffered from recent disasters like the hurricanes that hit the Carolinas and Texas?

Imagine if a hundred of us showed up with our equipment after a disaster, we could clear entire communities in short order. Of course, the devil is in the details, and the road to **** is paved with good intentions, but thought I’d throw the idea out there to see what folks thought?
 
   #2  

John_Mc

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If you really want to do this, I'd suggest touching base with a disaster relief organization BEFORE a disaster happens. It may seem hard to believe, but "freelancers" can actually hinder relief efforts. However, they do welcome help from someone who has shown the initiative ahead of time to connect with the organization, and get trained up in their relief procedures.

(I'm a pilot, and looked into doing something similar by offering to fly supplies in, and people needing medical attention out. I'll still probably do this at some point, but have been too wrapped up in other things to get into it.)
 
   #3  

Industrial Toys

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It's complicated. I once helped a guy who I didn't really know but he was in need after a disaster of sorts. So I offer, man, machine and fuel. Then I find out that those I "thought" were volunteering, are all getting paid, submitting invoices and expenses. I guess it was an insurance job.

You really need to know, what's what. I hate being the fool! Goodhearted fool, but a fool, non the less.
 
   #4  

jmc

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We had a tornado here awhile back that was narrow but intense. The township trustee took it upon herself to organize a volunteer effort to cleanup downed trees in her most affected neighborhoods. Her appeal went out for people to bring rakes, shovels, chainsaws, wheelbarrows, etc to the nearby VFW for assignments. While no official seemed to really be in charge at the VFW, volunteers were advised where the damage was concentrated and the volunteers seemed to find sites where they would be useful from there. I brought my tractor and grapple and, with chainsaw volunteers on the ground, we got a lot cleared. Other work groups had to cut everything into small pieces that a person or two could handle. I'd encourage anybody on here to get involved when you can. You just have to look out for volunteers who have never worked alongside equipment.

I think that Trustee has a job for as long as she wants it.
 
   #5  

finn1

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We had a similar situation after a flood here this past June.

Dozens of out of town trucks towing skid steers descended on the area to help with cleanup, many volunteers but also many profiteers.

A friend put a couple hundred hours on his old end loader. The township provided fuel and donated meals, and asked that he log hours so they could submit an application for FEMA to reimburse him, but no promises.

I see that the local tractor dealer moved a lot of CUTs, including one or more to local forum members.

In the end, though, most of the actual cleanup was done by a small army of local volunteers with shovels and rakes, mucking out flooded basements and filling up sandbags.

Roads are still a mess, with bridges missing and sections of pavement washed out.

After going through the disaster and seeing the tremendous local recovery effort put forth by local volunteers, I can only hope that the people in the Carolinas can do the same.

One last thing. When making a donation to disaster relief, make it in cash, not food, water, clothing or household goods. The people affected can buy what they truly need with cash, but donated supplies, however well intentioned, create a logistics and distribution nightmare, and is not a good or efficient way to provide aid.
 
   #6  

John_Mc

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My post above regarding contacting a disaster relief organization prior to an emergency was made in reference to loading up and heading out to someplace other than your home turf. I thought that is the type of effort the OP was referring to. If you are willing to do stuff like that on a regular basis, it really does make sense to connect with some organization: they will connect with local expertise and see that resources go where they are most needed.

It's a different thing if you are working in your local area. I regularly hit the local roads after a big storm and see who needs help getting out, who might need to borrow a generator, etc. Our road crew does a great job of clearing roads, but I'll often open a lane on some of the secondary roads, so they can focus on the more heavily used ones. It's a small town. I know most of the folks around here, and have some idea of who has experience working with chainsaws and/or around equipment. We already know the local area, what roads are likely to have problems, and who might have special needs.
 
   #7  

Big Barn

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It's complicated. I once helped a guy who I didn't really know but he was in need after a disaster of sorts. So I offer, man, machine and fuel. Then I find out that those I "thought" were volunteering, are all getting paid, submitting invoices and expenses. I guess it was an insurance job.

You really need to know, what's what. I hate being the fool! Goodhearted fool, but a fool, non the less.

Better feeling a fool than knowing you could have helped but didn’t.
 
   #8  

atsah

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It’s unfortunate but you need to be very careful these days when doing things for others. It seems that appreciation is getting harder and harder to come by. My elderly neighbor had a fire smoldering on his porch, just after a 30 inch snowstorm, the ambulance drivers asked me to plow the driveway so they could get in there, before I was done I had a fireman yelling at me to get the he!! Out of there, I had a big truck at the time, it took me two passes, literally 60 seconds for them to be able to get trucks in there.

Now insurance is a big deal as well, it’s pretty sad when someone wants to help out but are afraid of consequences for their help.
 
   #9  

Industrial Toys

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Years ago I volunteered at Habitat. Saw how things really worked behind the scenes. Not pretty!

As much as I like to help, and I am not Rich nor make much money, so working side by side with someone you find out are making BIG bucks already and are on OVERTIME, meanwhile you are working for coffee and sandwiches, well everyone has a limit to their generosity.

I'm just saying, you need to understand the situation. Don't be naive.
 

Big Barn

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Wow. Don’t get me started on Habitat for Humanity.

Locally I have had the worst experiences with them. From providing corporate donations which become “mismanaged” to having my staff members volunteer their own time on weekends as a team building experience and come back totally disillusioned.

Not to mention the stories from other suppliers finding out product destined for Habitat gets “diverted”to (paying) side jobs for “organizers”.

I realize the project’s concept is beneficial overall, but I guess I’m just getting old and tired of this crap.
 
 
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