It seems like every time I turn on the news, another natural disaster has struck. It is heartwrenching to see those affected by the recent hurricanes, not just on the U.S. mainland, but in Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. As well, the rash of wildfires in California have been absolutely devastating. I can’t imagine what these people are going through, many having lost their homes, businesses and/or family keepsakes, or worse maybe even a loved one. If you weren’t personally affected by these disasters, you probably know someone who was.

Months of cleanup lies ahead for these areas affected by these unfortunate disasters. As demolition contractors, recycled aggregate producers and construction and demolition (C&D) debris processors, many of our readers are in the trenches of helping with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts. You can read about some of their experiences in the cover story, “Dealing with disaster.”

Disaster response doesn’t happen every day or in every geographic location at the same time, thankfully, but when it does, having well trained crews, the right equipment and a game plan certainly helps expedite the demolition, repair and rebuild process. I have been moved by the stories I hear of industry suppliers donating equipment to help assist with processing and moving debris.

If you have a friend or industry colleague in one of these affected regions, I would encourage you to reach out to them. Let them know you are thinking of them and offer them support, and if you have the equipment or resources, offer that, too. That level of generosity is already happening, and it is just a testament to the integrity and hardworking nature of the people in these industries.

The problem with disasters is you never know when one is going to affect you. If you don’t have a disaster preparedness plan in place as a business owner, it is time to get one. Earlier this year, we ran an article about USA Gypsum in Denver, Pennsylvania, and how quickly the company was able to respond to a wind storm without much disruption to the operation. Who would have thought a wind storm would have come through central Pennsylvania in February? Owner Terry Weaver was ready, and it saved his business.

Now is the time to be thinking of the future and preparing for the unknown, because as we’ve seen, Mother Nature can be pretty unforgiving, and many think climate change is adding to the severity and frequency of these incidents. To those who will be spending the next several months working in the hurricane- and wildfire- affected areas, I have the utmost respect for you. Thank you for all you are doing to make these areas livable again and to help people move on with their lives.