There are few things as destructive or as life-changing as a natural disaster. FEMA home inspection can help victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other emergencies begin to rebuild their lives. As a disaster inspector, you could offer assistance just when people need it the most. When any disaster affects homeowners, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) steps in to assess the situation and provide different types of relief as needed. One type is disaster inspections, which report the scope of damage for homeowner insurance and repair purposes.
Disaster inspections won’t be your sole source of customers, and thank goodness for that. But qualified and certified men and women find disaster work a good way to serve communities and supplement their income. Though not required for most state home inspector certification programs, FEMA home inspection training can help professionals expand their service offerings and support their clients in especially trying times.
What is a Disaster Inspection?
Unlike a typical home inspection, which reports on the condition of everything visible and accessible from the roof to the basement, a disaster inspection focuses on damage. Inspectors visit homes or home sites of people who have applied for disaster assistance from FEMA. While traditional home inspections provide insight into the health of a home and its systems, FEMA home inspections offer homeowners the chance to understand the full weight of the damage their property has suffered.
Before FEMA can offer assistance, they must determine whether or not it’s warranted. That’s where people like you come in. The government agency relies upon the opinion of professionals to disburse relief aid, and FEMA home inspection appointments help get this process started. Inspectors look for damages that are related to a federally-recognized disaster, such as a flood, tornado or earthquake. All information is recorded electronically and sent to FEMA.
Disaster Inspectors Don’t Work for Free
Although this type of work is certainly a service, inspectors aren’t expected to donate their time and skills. Disaster situations can be more hazardous than any average home inspection, and ASHI says the pay reflects that. Not everyone with their home inspector certification can conduct these inspections, though, so disaster inspectors are often in hot demand in the days and weeks following a natural disaster.
As with your normal inspections, pay is on a per-site basis. But because these aren’t comprehensive inspections where you’ll test outlets or determine whether living room lights function, the process goes faster. Many inspectors complete about 10 per day.
How Disaster Inspections Differ From Home Inspections
While a normal home inspection may center around the overall condition of a property, disaster inspections hone in on the ways a storm, earthquake or other natural disaster impacted the house. FEMA home inspections are a means to an end; without the insight of a professional with their home inspection certification, the government is unlikely to provide any kind of disaster relief aid.
Home inspectors who conduct FEMA home inspections will be on the lookout for damage to a property, rather than focusing their attention on the health of the home. Inspectors enter each room, recording damage done to both the home itself as well as any appliances and personal possessions. Roof inspections are also necessary, but must be conducted from the ground. Given the state that many FEMA home inspections occur in, it’s up to home inspectors to protect their personal safety while checking for damage.
How to Qualify as a FEMA Disaster Inspector
FEMA-approved contractors offer a free, one-day Disaster Inspection Training course across the country. ASHI says members usually have access to this training through local chapters at low or no cost. A fee may be assessed to help support the ASHI chapter. Training also meets some of your ASHI Membership Renewal Credits (MRCs).
At present, FEMA contracts with only two disaster inspection companies. Those are PB Disaster Services, and PaRR Inspections. Do your due diligence before signing on with either company for disaster-related inspection work. They will handle the FEMA contracts, and they will retain a portion of what FEMA pays for inspections. Unless FEMA changes policies, you won’t perform disaster work directly for FEMA, but for one of those two companies.
Disasters aren’t predictable. There might be hurricane and tornado seasons, but no one can really know when or where the next event might happen. When homeowners lose everything to fire, flood or almost any other natural occurrence, FEMA can help. And with inspectors like you, they know who needs their help the most.
ICA School understands the importance of qualified home inspectors, not just for the everyday purposes of buying and selling real estate. Sometimes inspections can determine whether homeowners will get the assistance that they need to recover after Mother Nature strikes. Enroll now, and you could earn your certification and go on to start a thriving home inspection business of your own.