April, 2008
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Disaster Inspection Resources on HomeInspector.org?


The Web site serves as a resource for members who are interested in preparing themselves to take advantage of opportunities to use their skills. The Disaster Inspection pages describe one such potential opportunity.  

Recommended Links:

The American Society of Home Inspectors strongly supports the education of its members in the discipline of Disaster Housing Inspections. Each of our members should be available to perform disaster inspections in case of a natural disaster in his or her locale or where needed. The primary purpose of ASHI members becoming Certified Disaster Inspectors is to provide assistance to the FEMA programs on a local basis.  Disasters occur all over the country in many different forms. Performing inspections in your locality provides several opportunities for ASHI members.  Foremost is the ability to assist people in their time of need. A side effect of a disaster is a temporary lull in the real estate market; therefore, performing disaster inspections can be a way to augment your income during this time. Publicity opportunities also are available for your business by performing disaster inspections.

ASHI chapters are encouraged to provide Disaster Inspection Training for their members, either as a benefit or advertise it at a reasonable fee for chapter fund raising.  

Minimum class size is approximately 15 and the maximum is 40. Larger classes can be arranged.

What does a Disaster Housing Inspector do?

He or she visits the homes of disaster victims who have applied for FEMA assistance following federally declared disasters. At the homes, the inspector records disaster-related damages into a handheld computer. Based on the inspection, the applicants may be eligible for federal assistance.

Is this full-time work?

No. Inspectors are deployed “as needed.” Disaster relief work is unpredictable and intermittent. After being released from working a disaster, an inspector may be “idle” for weeks or months at a time.

Where are inspectors deployed?

Inspectors are eligible for deployment anywhere in the United States and its territories.

How are inspectors selected for deployment?

The first call for inspectors goes to full-time disaster specialists and certified inspectors in the local area. Second and subsequent calls are for certified inspectors in increasing distances from the disaster site.

Are inspectors required to work all disasters?

No. The number of inspectors needed will depend on the scope of the damage. If an inspector is called out for deployment and is not available at that time, he or she will remain on the callout list for future deployments.

Is this volunteer work?

No. A lot is asked of disaster inspectors, and they are compensated accordingly. Inspectors are paid per inspection. Inspectors who are organized, with good time-management skills, are well compensated.

What can I expect to be paid?

Inspectors typically do at least 10 inspections per day and receive starting compensation in the range of $50 per inspection. Compensation is specific to each contractor and increases by level of experience and the past history of participation by the inspector.

Who pays for the inspector’s expenses?

All inspectors are considered “Independent Contractors.” As such, they are responsible for all their field expenses (lodging, rental cars, food, etc.). However, the Inspection Contractor will pay transportation expenses to and from the disaster site.

What classes are required?

Each FEMA-approved contractor provides free, one-day classes held nationwide. Check the class listings for chapter-sponsored classes (nominal fee for chapter support may be required) or refer to the contractor links. Additional online classes may be required that are specific to each contractor.

Are ASHI CEs approved for disaster inspection classes?

Classes are ASHI-approved for 8 CEs.

Qualities desired in a Disaster Housing Inspector:

  • Derive satisfaction from helping people in their times of need.
  • Basic familiarity with the building trades related to residential construction.
  • Able to navigate easily around the MSWindows® operating system.
  • Meet physical demands of disaster inspecting including climbing stairs, navigating hazards and debris, and maintaining an efficient working pace.
  • Good people skills and expression of compassion under stressful conditions.
  • Respect people of different races, ethnicities, lifestyles and economic status.
  • Available for short-notice deployment and able to work away from home for several weeks at a time.
  • Flexibility to work intermittently, depending on need and Mother Nature.
  • Excellent time-management skills.
  • Resourceful and able to think on your feet.
  • Ability to use a credit card for expenses is recommended.
  • Ability to rent a car (valid license & good driving record).
  • Carry your own health insurance.
  • Free of felony convictions.
  • Hard worker who is willing to work long hours, seven days a week, for weeks on end.

Source: http://www.homeinspector.org/membersonly/disasterinspections.aspx

The ASHI Dscussion Board

892 users have contributed to 1,864 threads and 2,337 posts

It may be new but the ASHI discussion board is attracting users who have a lot to say.

If you’re not one of them, what are you missing?

ASHI members are sharing their technical expertise. For example, one day active discussions in the Building Technical Topics Forum included “What is this insulation?” “Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, about a rolled asphalt roof, and “Speaking of Hardie Board.” There are forums for most of the systems and components covered in the ASHI Standards of Practice.

But the discussions don’t stop there. A new forum, Infrared, was recently added in the Other Technical Topics section because of interest in that topic.

In addition to technical topics, you can discuss Report Writing, Standards & Ethics, Business, Marketing and too many topics to list here.

Take a look for yourself.