Have you ever thought about what you would do after a major disaster hit your home or business? Who would you call for help? Perhaps due to the common "it won't happen to me" syndrome, a lot of us don't really give this much thought. We figure we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. However, a good argument can be made for planning for disaster.
Luckily there are companies like TRC Disaster Solutions, who not only clean up after disasters, but try to prepare you for them in advance so you might be able to avoid some of the devastating consequences caused by tornadoes, fires, floods and ice storms.
TRC is a property restoration company. They go into businesses, schools, churches, hotels, hospitals and homes and clean up, restore data and paper files, along with many other restorative tasks. "There's a whole list of things that we do," said Crystal Kline, Business Development Manager at TRC. Some other items on that list include water extraction, structural drying, mold remediation, structural cleaning and air duct cleaning. According to Kline, document file and media recovery is some of the most important work that they do, especially in hospitals (with the extensive records they keep).
One focus of TRC is pre-disaster training and consultation. This includes drills, exercises and putting together an emergency plan, which Kline says is extremely important to have in place. Their goal is to help people and businesses avoid disasters.
Kline insists they don't want clients to have to call them after the fact. "The bottom line is we hope they never need us. You always hope that no one has to suffer," she said. "We're assisting you in any way possible to make sure that you don't need us -- and if you do, that the impacts of the disaster are lessened. We want to make sure that you've planned and prepared in such a way that your property is spared. That's the big thing that sets us apart...I don't know of any other restoration company that does that."
That philosophy seems to be working for them. "We've been in business for 25 years. We also have offices in Oklahoma City and we're getting ready to open an office in Springfield (Mo.)," Kline said. They have clients all over the country and are the only restoration company in Oklahoma affiliated with Disaster Kleenup International, which is "the largest disaster restoration contracting organization in North America," according to their website.
To the Rescue
TRC always keeps its collective eyes and ears open for disasters, but they try to develop relationships with companies before they occur, so people will know who to call for help.
"We have seasons of the year when we're busier than others," Kline said. "Over the years, there's been more and more [disasters]. A big part of that is because of the way that we develop our cities and communities. Cities that suffer floods are because of the way they develop their flood planes. [There are] increasingly and exponentially more flooding problems."
During the winter, Hillcrest Medical Center experienced a major flooding when their pipes burst from the freezing water inside. This affected patient records and got into several floors of the building, including where the MRI machines were. TRC got to work right away and restored all their records. "We were in and out of there pretty quickly," Kline said.
During this past summer's extreme heat, with temperatures lingering in the triple digits, there was a Saturday in August when a rainstorm hit. Everyone in Tulsa was celebrating, except for the people of Cityplex, whose building was damaged by the rain, which had poured sideways into their upper floors. "We had everything dried and cleaned up and repaired within six days," Kline said.
Kline explained how they have their own equipment, sources of power and gasoline -- and anything else they could possibly need.
While she just started with the company this year, Kline already has tremendous respect for her co-workers and the owner, Felix Ontiveros. TRC began as a construction company in 1987 with Ontiveros working out of the back of a pickup. Now, according to Kline, the president is "very committed to this community."
She noted that he is also extremely generous. For Thanksgiving this year, TRC donated 2,500 turkeys to various charities around town. Some of the employees went to Street School and volunteered to serve the students and their families. "For many of those families, it's the only Thanksgiving dinner that they have," Kline said. Along with annual Thanksgiving Day turkey donations, Ontiveros also donates his time sitting on several boards in the community.
As for why she is so fond of her fellow employees, Kline said, "There's a real level of commitment around here, making sure we do the best job possible. We've got some amazing expertise and experience." She marveled at their vast array of knowledge, stressing they are "incredibly smart people who know this business."
Kline believes the people of TRC take the extra steps needed to provide great service. There are "standards that have to be upheld in all types of arenas... You've got to know what those standards are and make sure you're in compliance with everything," she explained. "First responders are required to be compliant in order to be eligible for Homeland Security Grant Funding. An organization such as ours doesn't have to be, but we are because it helps us do a better job.
"We're good at what we do. We respond quickly. We've got all the resources necessary to go to the East Coast to respond to Hurricane Irene and work on a disaster here as well. We respond to concurrent events because we've got the resources to do so. We've got the equipment, the personnel, the skills and the knowledge."
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