On August 27 Hurricane Laura hit the Texas and Louisiana coast as a strong Cat 4 hurricane. Wind speeds reached almost 150 mph, and storm surge flooding pushed inland for miles. The stronger part of the storm was on the Louisiana side, with Cameron and Lake Charles taking a direct hit and damages continuing to counties further from the coast. Texas also received damages in the counties along the border; especially hard hit was the town of Orange, with wind, flooding, toppled trees and wide-spread power outages. 23 people have been reported killed by this disaster.
Initially FEMA activated both contract firms and issued 3,000 inspections to each, so as to evaluate readiness and performance. WSP USA Inspection Services moved into a production mode in short order by activating inspectors briskly, showing that we were ready for whatever amount of work FEMA would issue us. Based on our strong performance, on September 1, FEMA chose WSP to complete the rest of the inspections in this disaster. As of this writing, registrations continue to grow for DR-4559 (Hurricane Laura- Louisiana), as FEMA has taken over 75,000 applications for assistance.
Inspectors are completing Remote Inspections only, so all work is being done from inspectors homes, with no physical onsite deployment. The telephone interview process allows inspectors to verify information and assess damages based on answers provided by the disaster survivors. Hundreds of inspectors have been activated to complete this large number of inspections, and anything else the already historic 2020 hurricane season brings.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spin on how we accomplish our work, WSP USA Inspection Services has had a long history of responding nimbly and professionally to any and all disasters we are tasked with. The award of the remainder of DR-4559 LA demonstrates the unsurpassed commitment and capabilities of our inspector cadre, and that we remain the preferred provider of disaster inspection services for the federal government.