Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, flooding—and the list goes on. Emergency situations are an inevitable part of life, and whether they are natural or human-made disasters, relief and recovery are the next steps.
Most foodservice operations have some kind of disaster relief plan of action in place, but an important aspect of a good disaster plan is understanding the difference between disaster relief and disaster recovery.
In the temporary kitchen industry, the disaster-relief phase is the immediate response of resources to those in need after a disaster occurs. Most would consider companies such as The Red Cross to be disaster relief companies, and even first responders would be considered disaster relief. These are resources that people would need immediately to assist with such things as emergencies, extraction, fresh water and interim shelter. The response time for disaster relief is as quickly as possible, most likely within 24-48 hours of the event.
Foodservice operations during the disaster relief stage strive to provide basic necessities to those in need as well as to first responders. Simple meals can be prepared in basic mobile kitchen facilities. These facilities are often self-contained smaller units that can be mobilized quickly for disaster relief, and operators can use these facilities immediately until a larger, better-equipped facility can be provided to restart regular foodservice operations.
Once the immediate need for disaster relief is over and all emergencies have been remedied, the next step is the disaster recovery stage. During this stage, the affected business or community begins to recover and rebuild their facilities again. This stage can take a great deal of time, and operation of businesses and the community must continue.
While planning the rebuilding of communities, there are temporary facilities that can be dispatched for use during the recover stage. These facilities are more robust than disaster-relief facilities, and they’re equipped for operations to function as they would normally (or as close to it as possible). These temporary facilities can range in size and length of time based on the size of operations. For instance, during the recovery stage after Hurricane Ike, the University of Texas Medical Branch used a 15,000 square foot temporary kitchen for five years while they rebuilt their foodservice operation.
Of course, larger recovery facilities that will be used for longer durations require more time to mobilize. That’s why a company can provide the smaller disaster relief unit while the larger disaster recovery unit is customized and prepared for the operation in need.
Foodservice directors understand the immediate requirement after a disaster is to provide the basic human need of nutrition; however, once that is met and the immediate emergency is over, people will require more than just the basic requirements. This is where the need for temporary foodservice facilities that can provide continued standard operations come into play.
This post is sponsored by Kitchen Corps