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Agencies Team Up to Solve Inspector Response Challenges in the US Virgin Islands

inspector at a damaged structure
Inspector P65330 Randy Smith recording severe wind damages to the exterior of a typical home in St. Thomas. Photo by Shuvonn Hancock, Inspector P99972.

Between September 6th and September 16th, 2017, the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands was devastated by two Category 5 Hurricanes— Irma, and Maria. Irma set multiple records for intensity with sustained wind speeds of over 185-mph recorded, and the two storms combined to drop over 20 inches of rain on the islands. WSP USA Inspection Services deployed a team of nearly 200 inspectors to assist FEMA in providing over 30,000 quality and timely housing inspections for disaster survivors.

Partnering with FEMA and other state and federal agencies during this deployment was key to successfully completing our mission. Overcoming challenges such as inspector lodging, locating applicants, and poor cell phone service were just a few issues dealt with during this deployment. FEMA contributed large berthing ships to assist in the lodging of relief personnel, including WSP inspectors, as most hotels and resorts were severely damaged by the storms. To assist inspectors in locating difficult to find addresses, WSP, FEMA, and the Virgin Islands National Guard created a partnership which paired inspectors with local National Guardsmen who, drawing from their extensive knowledge of the island and its citizens, served as guides to assist in locating disaster survivors and their damaged properties. Satellite phones, specialized maps, and many other unique solutions were implemented in this incredibly challenging and rewarding deployment.

inspector at a damaged structure
Inspector P65330 Randy Smith records severe structural and personal property damage in St. Thomas. Photo by Shuvonn Hancock, Inspector P99972.

It was our distinct pleasure to serve the people of the US Virgin Islands in the wake of this historic event. WSP USA Inspection Services would like to thank the responding inspectors for doing a great job and representing WSP in such a professional manner. If you know of others who are looking for a fulfilling part-time job that offers paid training, travel, bonus incentives and a sense of accomplishment, direct them to the Join Our Team section on our home page.


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