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Entering the disaster response market

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While business opportunities are found in the disaster response market, new entrants face many challenges. Five tent industry experts provide words of wisdom.

“Be prepared for the worst. Do preliminary planning with your customers prior to any disaster response. When called into action, make sure your first response team members are ready to set up camp without gasoline, water, food, shelter, utilities and phone, and have supplies to sustain themselves for three to four days. The team needs to know what steps to take if they cannot get to the agreed-upon site and how to stay safe under dangerous conditions.”

—Mike Holland, Chattanooga Tent Co.

“If you want to rent tents and other supplies for disasters, it makes sense to get on the preferred vendor lists for government agencies and relief organizations. While this involves an investment of time and effort, attaining ‘approved vendor’ status means both parties know what to expect and don’t have to negotiate critical details in an emergency situation.”

—Dennis Remsberg, Losberger U.S.

“Make sure your company is set up to provide the supplies, services and manpower you are promising. If you can’t fulfill a commitment, it may take several days longer to restore power to or open emergency shelters for a city recovering from a disaster. There is no room for failure when immediate help is needed.”
—Brian Jenkins, Dallas Party Tent & Event

“Recognize that responding to disasters is demanding on crews and equipment but essential to the success of the relief effort. It takes dedication and preparation to succeed as well as the necessary equipment, resources and manpower.”
—Keith Krzeminski, Classic Tents/National Response

“Because not one company can do it all, it’s essential to build and maintain positive relationships throughout the year with other companies. In our unpredictable industry it’s important to have alliances that both parties can leverage when needed.”
—Jimmy Parks, Karl’s Event Services

Suzanne Wilson is a freelance writer based in Bloomington, Minn

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