Role of Trades in Post-Disaster...

Role of Trades in Post-Disaster Reconstruction

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Disasters can come suddenly or build slowly over a long time. However, they all require reconstruction once they are over, and the trades can be an important part of the recovery.

Suppose that a fire or flood happened in your area. People would have to clean up everything that had been destroyed and decide what can be repaired. Restoration companies work directly with this stage of reconstruction. People from these companies go into building after a disaster has occurred and assess the level of damage to walls, furniture, and even clothes and other personal items.

People in the restoration trade often come in after many other tradespeople have already done their work. Restoring basic services is usually the first job after a disaster so that people have water to drink and electricity to light their homes and cook their food. Plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople are very important at this stage.

Many disasters can weaken buildings from the force of water, earthquakes, or other events. Tradespeople like builders check the structure of homes and office buildings affected by disasters to make sure that the structure is still strong enough to stay upright. If the building is too badly damaged for people to use, tradespeople might need to pull it down and rebuild it entirely. If possible, they can make repairs to strengthen the building.

Once buildings are safe to use, tradespeople are necessary for many small jobs. Insulation installers help to prepare buildings for winter, and painters make rooms look nice while helping to protect walls from water or snow damage. Bricklayers, pipefitters, and all kinds of tradespeople are necessary for reconstructing buildings after a disaster. A certificate or diploma from a trade school is normally necessary for this type of work.

Clean energy can be another area where tradespeople are needed. Often, powerlines and fuel sources are damaged in disasters, but this situation can give a chance for people to switch to clean energy. People who have skills in alternate forms of energy can help to move communities away from fossil fuels towards other options such as solar or geothermal energy.

Cleaning up and rebuilding after a disaster can be difficult and dangerous work. People in the trades working with these types of jobs need to know and follow safety procedures and to be able to instruct other people in how to keep themselves from being hurt. A knowledge of First Aid is also useful in case of an accident.

Danger after a disaster is not only from rusty nails or weak buildings. Sometimes, gas leaks or other hazards might put tradespeople and other reconstruction workers at risk. Knowing how to repair leaky pipes or how to contain dangerous fuels and gases can help make the job of reconstruction much safer. Knowing how to use safety equipment is also essential for people working with hazardous materials. Often, training for this kind of work is available as short courses at community colleges or trade schools.

No one wants to be in a disaster, but it is important to be prepared. With the right training, tradespeople can be a major part of post-disaster reconstruction.



Government of Canada. “Follow Your Passion. Find Your Skilled Trade.” https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/skilled-trades.html.

Morrish, Sussie C. “Post-Disaster Business Recovery: An Entrepreneurial Marketing Perspective.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296319302243.

People Ready Skilled Trades. “The Importance of Skilled Trades.” https://skilled.peopleready.com/the-importance-of-skilled-trades/.

Skilled Trades College https://www.skilledtradescollege.ca/blog/skilled-trades-jobs-in-demand-canada.

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