The Ethics of “Fire Chasing” and Emergency Response in the Restoration Industry

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by Mykola Velychko of Photoxpress_6168385Much is found on the internet about restoration companies that earn business by marketing their services to home owners and businesses whose lives have been interrupted by a fire or flood.  Those restoration businesses that do not “chase” fires will at times send out press releases warning people of the dangers of such business practices and discourage those in distress from making decisions without consulting them first.

There is no doubt in all industries there are bad elements.  Homeowners and business owners alike must be aware and read everything they sign.  A rash decision could equate to lost time and money.  No one wants to add insult to injury by rebuilding their lives with craftsmanship that is not as good or better than what was lost.

ServPro, one of the nation’s most respected and prominent restoration companies uses a tagline that strikes at the heart of what people want when disaster strikes, “ . . . make it like it never even happened.”  The massive disruption in people’s lives and businesses is far more than an inconvenience, it puts everything on hold.  For families, oftentimes they do not know where they will stay, what will become of their heirlooms, and how they will reschedule everything they planned that involved their home.

For businesses, the loss of space means a loss of revenue, possibly enough revenue that if the company was struggling a fire or flood could destroy its future.  Depending upon the size of a business, a day could equal tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as people’s jobs and livelihoods.

Unlike other professions that “chase” business, restoration and reconstruction businesses are filling a real need in society; a need for expediency, quality, and professionalism.  Getting back on track is paramount to both families and businesses when a fire or flood strikes, doing so in the timeliest manner is not a luxury or greed, it is an absolute necessity.

Emergency response when families and businesses need it most is a service that works because fires and water damage destroys the very infrastructure that makes our lives comfortable and productive.  Without such a framework in our lives everything suffers, and as days go by it only gets worse.  Time is critical and everyone affected in such a way wants nothing more than to return to the life they knew the day before their lives were struck by disaster.

Therefore, emergency response or “chasing” a fire or disaster is very different from other professions that directly market to their customers.  Unlike lawyers who seek out damages when no negligence is evident, and unlike business that fill our mailboxes with literature we do not need or care to consider, emergency response to a fire or water damage is a service that fills a essential need in our society.

Organizations like ServPro, Paul Davis Restoration, Belfor USA, Service Master, Restoration 1, and many others, many of whom do not chase fires,  provide a necessary service to those in need.  It is imperative that any property owner struck by damage from fire, water, or smoke check references, consider reviews online, call their insurance company, and consult the Better Business Bureau before signing any paperwork.  Once they do, they will be happy to know that their life will be back in order as quickly as possible.

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