Right now, it’s hard for me to look at the devastating news reports and images following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and not think of my contractor friends in Texas — especially Houston. I pray that they and their families are safe, warm, and dry.
According to a preliminary estimate from AccuWeather, Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a price tag of $190 billion. Additionally, Forbes has reported that Motiva, the largest oil refinery in the U.S. — located in Port Arthur, Texas — has been shut down due to massive flooding along with nearby Velero Energy and ExxonMobil refineries. The report also stated about 22 percent of U.S. refining capacity is offline due to the natural disaster which could lead to a serious negative impact on the energy industry.
And that is just accounting for the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey. At the time this post was written, 39 deaths have been reported in Texas, but there are countless reports of people still trapped in their homes, out of food and water, waiting to be rescued by emergency response personnel. The flooded areas are so significantly impacted it could take weeks or even months before they become habitable again due to water damage from disease ridden water and mold.
AccuWeather has advised victims of Hurricane Harvey that they are in store for ongoing flooding for days, possibly weeks; uninhabitable homes; road closures; supply deliveries cut off; no air conditioning; unsanitary conditions; and possibly years to recover.
HVAC contractors not only have to worry about getting their own businesses back up and running but also about their customers as they begin the restoration process in their homes. Several contractors I know have had luck reaching their customers on social media to let them know what not to do following the flooding of their HVAC equipment. Others have rented space in temporary buildings, purchased laptop computers, and business carried on as usual. Whatever you choose to do, there certainly is help available.
For instance, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) has activated its Disaster Relief Fund to provide immediate assistance to members in need. Donations will support members whose businesses have been disrupted by major disasters now and in the future. PHCC members may use funds to offset costs to clean up flood damage, repair or replace equipment, etc. All requests are confidential and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis as funds become available.