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An interview excerpt with Jeff Chester, Vice President

Interviewer: How long does it take first responders to arrive at my property after a hurricane?

Jeff Chester: Well one of the nice things about hurricanes, if there are any, is that you get plenty of advance notice. So, as we’re monitoring the National Hurricane Center or NOAA, we realize where the cone of uncertainty is going to be. I don’t want to be on site when the hurricane hits. Nobody does, because we don’t want to have to suffer our own damage. Hurricane Katrina, it’s an iconic storm that people still remember and talk about. We had all of our semi-trucks, all of our manpower, all of our resources stationed in Jackson, Mississippi, which is half a day’s drive down to the New Orleans area. We weren’t sure exactly where it was going to hit. We were there two days in advance, but we knew that if we stationed there, we were going to get in there as quick as we possibly can to aid our clients. In fact, one of the reasons we were able to get into the New Orleans area so quickly was because we hired some off duty highway patrolmen to escort us through the blockades that the National Guard had set up.

We were actually able to take the business owners into their property where they couldn’t have gotten to their properties otherwise. We even took some people in from CNN, I believe, on one of our trips in. We were gaining access to areas that very few people were able to get access to and that gave us a real advantage to minimizing the secondary damage from that storm.