Disaster recovery plans must take into account business continuity and human safety considerations. Most pre- and post-event plans address the need to immediately safeguard data and people, but long-term solutions can be so expensive and complicated that many local governments aren’t prepared for these scenarios. In the short term, storage containers can protect assets, allow businesses to operate, and house people after a fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, blizzard, or other emergency. Portable storage containers are very effective in short term disaster aftermath situations.
Safe and Accessible Asset Storage
Some disasters, such as hurricanes, are foreseeable and allow you to evacuate assets such as paper files, computers, and expensive inventory. Other disasters strike unexpectedly, such as a fires or tornados. When an unexpected disaster occurs, business owners might need to secure assets from a disaster damaged building. For insurance purposes, it becomes a time sensitive issue for taking stock of inventory to continue your business operations and to file insurance claims. In addition, these assets might likely need to be transferred to a more secure business location.
During a disaster that strikes homes, residents need to protect their personal assets from the elements, vandals and looters. Getting a storage container on site can be the safest, most effective way to protect valuables and cherished personal belongings. Many victims of disasters need to leave an area, and head out to another location for days, months or possibly longer. A storage container can help people suffering from a disaster stay close to their properties to protect them.
Containers as Housing
In addition to storing assets after an emergency, storage containers can house people. More and more municipalities are taking advantage of the ability. Storage containers can serve as comfortable temporary housing complete with kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living areas for individuals and families. New York is an example of a state working with federal agencies to coordinate plans and pay for this type of emergency housing for disaster victims. These housing units can be brought to emergency areas and stacked for convenience to get more people into limited spaces.
Once you step inside, you’ll forget you’re in a storage container as you take in these smartly finished and furnished housing units. Typical units are 8-feet wide, with custom options providing a variety of lengths to meet specific needs. In Japan, one company deployed more than 11,000 storage container housing units after the 2011 tsunami disaster. Unlike older FEMA trailers, storage containers are easy to locate and are well ventilated for user safety. This type of portable housing allows residents to stay near their community, rather than to move to other locales, including out of state, as happened after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
Office Space Made Easy
Another use for storage containers after a disaster is a working office space. These units let businesses get employees back on the job in safe, comfortable work areas to provide the business continuity that can make or break a company while it recovers from a disaster. Solar power or electric generators provide the necessary energy to power computers and heating and cooling systems. The city of Houston, Texas purchased solar-powered containers as disaster-response centers for use during emergencies. These units will help emergency workers assist the public when police and fire stations lose power during a disaster. The units are OSHA compliant and can be used year-round during non-emergency situations for other office needs, making them even more valuable to state and local governments.
Vital Role During Emergencies
Mobile Mini excels at getting storage containers to a site during the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. The local officials can then store debris or safeguard documents in the storage unit. Prior to local governments making disaster areas safe again, storage containers can fill a vital role in cleanup operations. That’s why containers were used extensively in Hurricane Katrina’s cleanup, for example.
Doomsday Preppers Turning to Containers
As more and more survivalists consider their preparations to ride out a natural or man-made disaster, storage containers are factoring into their plans. Used storage containers can be abundant in some areas of the country because importers find it cheaper to abandon or sell them rather than ship them back to countries like China. These containers can be outfitted into livable housing units or outfitted to stockpile survival supplies. Buried underground, they remain unseen by potential scavengers who might be looking for easy pickings after a disaster that leaves little or no law enforcement to protect survivors.
As you can see, storage containers have become much more than just a basic storage option. What other uses of storage containers not listed above have you seen in disaster cleanup methods? Leave a note in the comments.