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Thread: FEMA Inspectors

  1. #1
    Michael Wright's Avatar
    Michael Wright Guest

    Default FEMA Inspectors

    (skip to the numbered questions if you don't feel like reading my introduction)

    Hello, I found this site while searching for information on the net regarding the two companies that contract disaster inspectors for FEMA. I searched the site for as much information as I could find so please forgive me if something I post has already been posted somewhere else before. Anyways, here it goes:

    I am a 22-year old looking to make some decent money so I can save up for the future. I have my Associate's Degree and have worked numerous jobs before, but none of it really had anything to do with construction or real estate, which I discovered to be two of the preferred types of experience for prospective inspectors. I wasn't planning on pursuing this, but I had heard from someone who's friend was in Texas right now (I'm located in Georgia) doing the same thing and has been for about six years. I currently have no committments and I am a pretty independent person so that is why I'm really interested in the opportunity. I hear it is a lot of hard work, but I think I'm at the point in my life where I need to test my ability to work hard and have my level of success determined by how I approach my work. Not to mention the pay seems to beat working the jobs that I've had so far. I came on this site to get as much information as possible so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Questions:
    1. Like I mentioned earlier, I have virtually no experience other than helping put together a deck or something at a friend's house here and there, along with a stagecraft class that I took in college. I am considering going to a workshop in Dallas (all the way from GA) that Parr is conducting this week. They currently have nothing else scheduled on their site that would be any closer to me, but the workshop is required before you can move on to the online part of training. Now my question is, would it be worth it to fly out there (I can go standby round-trip and end up spending less than $200) and take the class so I can start the qualification process as soon as possible?

    2. I also tried registering with PB Disaster, but one of their servers have been down since I first tried on Tuesday and I have called on three seperate occasions, all of which they took my name and number and have said someone would contact me within one day to register over the phone but that has yet to happen. Once I get registered, then I can take their online training courses which seems a lot better than flying to Houston. My question is though, are you allowed to be in the pool as an inspector for both Parr and PB at the same time, or just one or the other? I figured if you can, then it might increase your chances of getting deployed wouldn't it? Which leads me to the next question.

    3. Say I do go through with the training and complete it for either one, or both of the companies (and pass the background check), does anyone have an idea of what my chances of actually getting deployed anywhere soon would be? Particularly when you factor in my inexperience, age, and the number of inspectors they have deployed right now. I guess what I'm trying to say is, are my chances fairly good or is it one of those cases where they let anybody "try out" but there's really no chance from the beginning that I would make the team?

    I apologize for the length of my post and I don't expect anyone's answers to be the same, so just any kind of help would be awesome.

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  2. #2
    Klondike Everheart's Avatar
    Klondike Everheart Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Let me tell you about PaRR and PB. I went to PaRR's training in July. I was contacted in September to go to their "expedited" background check and briefing in Kenner, LA after Gustav. Parr said they would reimburse us for travel IF we passed the background check and were deployed. They also said anyone who stayed there would be given priority for deployment.
    My group did fingerprints on a Mon. We were told that they should go through in 24-48 hours. Well, by the following Thurs. morning, by word of mouth, we all learned that our prints were not accepted by FEMA because they were not done correctly. So, I and about 78 others waited for about 4-5 hours to redo prints, except this time, one of two machines was broken and the two techs were literally breaking down, crying. The company didn't even start calling to notify us of the problem until after most of us had redone our prints.

    The next morning, a Friday, I went to the PB headquarters because it was pretty obvious there was a problem at Parr if they could not even do prints right. I had signed up online with both companies, so PB let me do their training and took my prints. In total, I wasted two weeks of time and money, staying in hotels, eating Ramen noodles, waiting to hear something. I went to both companies' headquarters to see what I could find out, and what I learned was very educational.
    Parr, the company that lured me to NO, would not communicate with me at all. Their staff people at their headquarters were beligerent, rude, and foul-tempered. When I tried to inquire about the fingerprint issue, I was yelled at and told I would know something when they posted my background clearance on the website. The second time I went there, I was all but thrown out of the building. The impression I have is that Parr is very disorganized and callous towards their inspectors.
    I also spent time at the PB headquarters. I actually got to speak with the director there, and the staff people took the time to listen to my inquiries. They let me attend their training, did a second set of prints, and said they would deploy me if my background check cleared. They were very courteous and CALM. Also, PB's headquarters seemed much more organized. I noticed that their inspection reviewers were very patient with new inspectors they worked with (at Parr, I quickly saw reviewers yelling at and demeaning new inspectors).
    Anyway, after another week, I left because my background check had not gone through.
    More than a month later, and after several calls and emails to the FBI, FEMA, the Federal Office of Personnel Management, Parr, and PB, my background check cleared. As it turns out, Parr never posted my background check status on the website, probably because they got pissed off over my inquiries. Pissed off seems to be the ethos at Parr. The company seems to have a really negative corporate culture. PB answered all my inquiries and told me that my background check was done on the prints submitted by Parr. Anyway, PB called me up for deployment in Indiana in mid-October. I am in Gary as I type this.
    So, I came to the Gary area on a Sunday for briefing and equipment. The PB staff seem very positive and encouraging, especially in comparison to their Parr counterparts. We were told what to expect, that their was plenty of opportunity, and that lots of work would be coming from applications in Chicago.
    The first day out, I was assigned 23 inspections. My reviewer told me not to do more than 3 or so per day, in order to get through the review period. He told me it was better to start slow and become accurate, so that I would be able to do more and better work afterwards. I spent 3 days reviewing and one day riding with the reviewer.
    After the first 23 original inspections, things died down. Now I have been here for two weeks. After completing my first set of inspections, I learned that they do not continue to send you work. You have to call the assignment department and basically whine and beg. Some of the people at my briefing were immediately sent to an area 250 miles south of Gary, near Kentucky. The first time I called for more work, I was asked to go to another part of Indiana for a handful of inspections. Apparently, the assignment dept. didn't have a clue where this place was in proximity to Gary. My 2nd set of inspections was 14 total. Since then, it has been a daily routine of calling assignment several times to get more work, then waiting at least two days for more. The last batch I received was 5 or 6 total.
    Today is Monday, and I haven't received any new work since Thurs. Another weekend of no work, for a total of three days. It costs money to be in the field while you wait, especially if you have to rent a car or don't find a roommate. My roommate called the assignment dept. this morning and it turns out operations are winding down in LA and TX. Same seems to be true here, too. He was told that they would release him from deployment if he wanted.
    So it looks like I will be packing it in, after only two weeks--one of which was the review period. Remember, they want you to commit to a month-long deployment.

    What's the lesson?
    From my experience, PB seems like the better company to deal with. Yes, you can sign up with both and increase your chances of deployment. However, neither company is perfect. I have kept in touch with other inspectors here in Indiana, and the consensus is that we are needlessly being kept in the dark about the availability of work. Definitely, the companies' motive to finish the assignment gives little or no consideration to the situation of the individual inspectors.

    The money could be good if you got in on a disaster at the front-end. Be careful -- you could easily get in a position where you would be lucky to break even. It is agonizing to sit around for days on end, not doing anything, when you know you could complete 10 or more inspections a day.

    Disorganization seems to be the norm. It doesn't make sense that a company brings people in, briefs and trains them, then lets them go a week or two later because there is no more work left. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like a big waste of resources.

    If you are interested in doing FEMA inspections, make sure you want to take the chance. You will need plenty of money or credit to go. You have to pay for motels, car rentals, food, gas, etc. You will wait at least a week for your first check. And there is no guarantee that you will have a good first check, or enough inspections afterwords to get a decent check later.
    Make sure you have no other commitments that you aren't willing to set aside at least a month.
    If you have other longer-term opportunities, think twice about turning them down. The big lure is the money you can make in a short amount of time. I am learning that this is not too common. My guess is, on average, you will be better off at a stable, long-term job that pays low wages. While you will be regaled with stories of people making over $100k during 4-6 months' deployment, the reality is that the average deployment is for 2-4 weeks.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    I have to agree with Klondike. I have had a similar experience with both companies and neither are very good. Furthermore, from every inspector that I have spoke with, they have a similar experience or roughly the same comments about each company. I don't think that I have come across one inspector yet that I have directly spoke to that has like the process of getting deployed or the organization of each company. Personally, I think it is best to direct more time into growing your business. Just my .02 cents.


  4. #4
    Klondike Everheart's Avatar
    Klondike Everheart Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't work as a FEMA inspector. I just got home from my deployment and I didn't fare to badly in the end. The money was in the bank before I got to the house, and another deposit is on the way. I definitely could have made much more $$$ if I had been put to work the whole time, but I did make some money.

    However, It could have been a wash if I did not live and eat like a church mouse and if I hadn't been lucky enough to find a roommate.

    Again, if you decide to do it, be ready for your share of "hurry up and wait" and countless other headaches. Do not forego a more stable, long-term opportunity in the hopes of striking it rich. Also, I stand by my statements regarding PB over Parr.


  5. #5
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    You guys make me sick. All of these people who have lost their homes and all you can do is talk about lining your pockets with money or the lack of. The idea of getting rich off over persons travesty is disrespectful.
    Shame on you.

    MaMa Mount


  6. #6
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    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    You guys make me sick. All of these people who have lost their homes and all you can do is talk about lining your pockets with money or the lack of. The idea of getting rich off over persons travesty is disrespectful.
    Shame on you.

    MaMa Mount
    It's a job! Pure and simple. My son-in-law just returned and after helping right at 265 folks with their FEMA claims. Yes, he did make some money but he was away from his family and business for about five six weeks. If it weren't for folks like him and the other posters on this BB they would still be waiting for their relief money.+

    It is not charity work! Tony, you just need to get a grip.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    It's a job! Pure and simple. My son-in-law just returned and after helping right at 265 folks with their FEMA claims. Yes, he did make some money but he was away from his family and business for about five six weeks. If it weren't for folks like him and the other posters on this BB they would still be waiting for their relief money.+

    It is not charity work! Tony, you just need to get a grip.
    Yeah, what you said Scott.

    This is what we do for a living.

    Mama/Tony. You need to get a grip and go away.


  8. #8
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Mr. Patterson

    I am not Tony.
    You did not hear me once say anything about your son-in-law did you?
    My comment was directed at the other persons on this thread that was just talking bout lining their pockets. Not one of them ever mentioned the people or the troubles these people have incurred. Talk is only about the $$$$$$ which is a shame. Sure they are inspectors but lets not sound so gready.

    MaMa Mount


  9. #9
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    And you Mr. Ted you probably have a grip on it all day.


  10. #10
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
    Richard Pultar Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    I did the training with PB it was interesting.. I never went anywhere , when I could I didn't, seemed like to much hassle to go to a jambed airport ,and try to find a place to stay that had electric and phone . All near the site.
    It seemed that a fellow at PR that has a RV does well. Between the mileage money,and sleeping and cooking capabilities it seems like the only way i would go .
    I can't imagine Katrina.
    I never got the impression of the inspectors doing this just for the money..@ $32 a claim
    it would take a long day to make it worth it.
    I felt like the people affected loved to see help come and it seemed like you could make a persons day better and you might see some money.
    It seems the established guys get the plum jobs. Like 9 11 walk from claim to claim.
    I would do it just to get away and maybe get paid . If it's only for the money it's tough.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    Mr. Patterson

    I am not Tony.
    You did not hear me once say anything about your son-in-law did you?
    My comment was directed at the other persons on this thread that was just talking bout lining their pockets. Not one of them ever mentioned the people or the troubles these people have incurred. Talk is only about the $$$$$$ which is a shame. Sure they are inspectors but lets not sound so gready.

    MaMa Mount
    Sorry, for assuming that you are Tony Mount. Same last name, writing style and location just led me to go that direction. Coincidences that strong are not that common.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Klondike Everheart's Avatar
    Klondike Everheart Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    You guys make me sick. All of these people who have lost their homes and all you can do is talk about lining your pockets with money or the lack of. The idea of getting rich off over persons travesty is disrespectful.
    Shame on you.

    MaMa Mount

    I think you are reading way too much into this, and have no concept of what we are talking about.

    Yes, we get paid to do those inspections. $50 per inspection. And yes, we do get to immerse ourselves in the grief of others, pretty much all day long. Maybe good folks like you should devote free time to FEMA inspections so the applicants won't be victimized by greedy sob's like us. I have a business that I put on hold when I go do this stuff, and each time, I gamble on not breaking even. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect some remuneration for the effort, especially since I must pay for all my tools, lodging, food, gas, and other expenses in the field. As I indicated in my posts, this is no Yukon Goldrush.

    Guess what else. During my first week, I developed a reaction to the mold and other contaminants in the homes I was inspecting. I broke out in blisters over my whole body, which turned into a full body rash. I mean full body. I had to go to the emergency room because my body was going into anaphylactic shock (sp?). I was held from 1:30am till 7:00am and given all kinds of treatments. The reaction lasted 5 days.

    At 9:00am, I was back on the road, headed for my first inspection, and I finished the day out, asthmatic attacks and all. I spent a lot of time educating people on the danger of black mold that had been in their basements for years and then aggravated by flood conditions. Not to mention sewage. The $50 per inspection was not necessarily my full motivation. I run a law office at home and it would have been much easier to just go home to make as much or more money. Could it be that I and others might have a sense of duty combined with an incentive to get paid?

    FEMA inspectors run the chance of exposure to some really toxic stuff. Several people deployed with me had to go to the ER with respiratory distress and flu-like symptoms caused by the crap we and those applicants were breathing.

    Another thing. FEMA is not bending over backwards to pay benefits. True, we run into a ton of fraudulent applications, and the people who file them should get nothing. But there are a lot of people who would not get a penny if reasonable and sympathetic inspectors weren't out there to assess their homes. I give the applicants every benefit of the doubt within reason, especially when it's clear that their lives are devastated.

    Don't say jack until you walk a mile in my shoes. We put up with all kinds of self-righteous crap like yours in the field from people who don't have a clue about what we're doing. Go do some FEMA inspections. I bet you would quit after the third one you do for free, and you probably wouldn't make it very far beyond that if you stooped low enough to accept money for doing them.


  13. #13
    Lou Wissner's Avatar
    Lou Wissner Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    having done inspection for parr at both katrina and ike, i can tell you its not an easy way to make a living. to me it is rewarding. to help those who may not be able to get anything if it wasn't for the guys and gals like me who take pride in doing what we do. as klondike said we are exposed to many differnent things and fema surely is not giving money away like the did for katrina. there are crooks out there and it really makes me sick, especially since i live down here where ike hit and some of these crooks are in my area.
    the first couple of weeks can be extremely frustraiting because your new to the procedures they require, they keep changing the game as you go, you are not getting a paycheck for the first couple of weeks.
    but in the end it is greatly rewarding both finacially and emotionally. it make me feel good to help others as well as help my family with the nickles they need to have to function.
    it is what you make of it. it is ok that you make a living helping others. its ok to feel good making money as long as its an honest living. i helped a lot of people . my day started at 7:00a and would end 6:00p-7:00p thats a lot of time to help people.


  14. #14
    MaMa Mount's Avatar
    MaMa Mount Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Lou
    Your post sounds much better than the other ones. One question for you though. Do you not have a Caps Lock on your computer?

    Just funnin with you.

    MaMa Mount


  15. #15
    Jonathan Cartwright's Avatar
    Jonathan Cartwright Guest

    Thumbs down Re: FEMA Inspectors

    You really should get over yourself Ma Ma. Perhaps we should ask firefighters or policemen to start foraging for food in KFC dumpsters instead of collecting a paycheck. After all, they largely profit from the misfortune or misadventure of others. Grow up!

    And no. I have not done any disaster inspections but I do realize that they are important - especially to those who need the money to rebuild their lives.

    Jonathan


  16. #16
    Russ Harrison's Avatar
    Russ Harrison Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    Quote Originally Posted by MaMa Mount View Post
    You guys make me sick. All of these people who have lost their homes and all you can do is talk about lining your pockets with money or the lack of. The idea of getting rich off over persons travesty is disrespectful.
    Shame on you.

    MaMa Mount
    "Getting Rich off of travesty"? Obviously you are woefully misinformed. If it weren't for us, those people would get NOTHING to assist them. WE pay our own expenses, deal with a dozen tragic stories and some BS every single day. The pay is always wrong, the payroll is slow, and the expenses are great. Our families go weeks and months without seeing us, we sleep in our vans or tents at times, and we encounter some folks that are sometimes downright inhospitable. And..we usually try to have a quiet moment in order to de-stress only to be bothered by some loudmouth bore criticizing us for not doing enough. Not to mention the idiots that think that the taxpayers need to fix their houses up better than they were before the disaster, the corrupt officials interfering, the constantly changing directives and..my personal favorite...the incompetent or criminal inspector that worked the area just before us and has screwed everyone so badly that FEMA is NOT a welcome sight to them.
    So, sorry if I make you sick for wanting to be paid for my services and the stress I endure. You can make me feel better by donating to the familes of those inspectors that were killed, injured, or died because of their performance of a neccesary task.
    BTW> the streets of a FEMA Inspector are most assuredly NOT paved with gold,just read the bad exeriences posted here. Those experiences are the norm, NOT the exception. Just one question MaMa..what exactly have you done to help the victims and how inconvenient was it for you?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    It's getting to be that time of year. I'm keeping an eye on the Weather Channel every day.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  18. #18
    Tom Roon's Avatar
    Tom Roon Guest

    Default Re: FEMA Inspectors

    So, let me see if I understand this. First responders, like firemen, police, disaster workers etc. should not expect to be paid for their work? What planet are you on?


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