ProFiles: Sean Scott

GORDON KING Disaster Preparedness Leave a Comment

Meet the Pro: Sean Scott, Author and Disaster Recovery and Restoration Expert

Sean Scott with Chief August Ghio

Sean Scott, at left, with Chief August Ghio, head of the San Diego Fire Chiefs Association

Biography:

Sean Scott is a licensed general contractor in the State of California who has spent over 33 years in the construction and disaster restoration industry. Most of his experience involved assisting individuals and families with the rebuilding of their homes or businesses after fires, floods, and other natural or man-made disaster events. Sean witnessed first-hand the struggles people had to go through in order to rebuild their lives and how daunting this process was, especially for those who lost their home or became displaced.

Then in 2003 and 2007, wildfires swept through Southern California destroying nearly 6,000 homes and damaging countless others. It was in the weeks and months following these events that many survivors evolved into disaster victims as they didn’t know what to do, who to trust, or where to turn for help. As a result, necessity became the Mother of invention and Sean decided to embark on a mission to write a simple easy-to-read recovery road-map to walk disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process and raise awareness of the many pitfalls that accompany post-disaster scenarios.

Since its release in 2009, Sean’s book The Red Guide to Recovery – Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors has been adopted by State, County, and City emergency management agencies, fire departments, and relief organizations across the U.S.
It is now Sean’s mission to help take the mask of mystery off of the recovery process and teach people not only how to prepare for disaster events, but also how to prepare for recovery in advance, so people have the tools they need to rebuild their homes and lives.

ProPac interview with Sean Scott

ProPac: How did you become interested in writing the book The Red Guide to Recovery?

Scott: As a fire restoration contractor by trade, I witnessed on a daily basis what people went through when they lost their home or business to a fire, flood, mold, or other disaster event. For people who have never experienced a disaster before, this is the beginning of a nightmare. Then, in 2003 and again in 2007, wildfires swept through San Diego County destroying nearly 6,000 homes and damaging countless others.  It was in the weeks and months following these events that many survivors evolved into disaster victims as they didn’t know what to do, who to trust, or where to turn for help. Those who were the most vulnerable were the elderly, low income families, and those with cognitive or functional disabilities. In many cases disaster predators descended on people who had just lost everything and took advantage of them in their weakened emotional state.  Some fell prey to scams, picked the wrong contractor to rebuild, or got embroiled in lawsuits with their insurance companies, all of which could have been avoided if they only knew what to do. As a result, I decided to embark on a mission to write a simple easy-to-read recovery road-map to walk disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process and raise awareness of the many pitfalls that accompany post-disaster scenarios.   

ProPac: If you were not in the field of Disaster Preparedness what would you be doing?

Scott: I would most likely continue working in the fire restoration industry, helping people through the recovery process and/or training people on how to prepare for recovery. 

ProPac: What are some of the work-related hurdles that you face on a day-to-day basis?

Scott: I think the biggest hurdle I have is just getting the word out there of what The Red Guide to Recovery is all about and how it fulfills many aspects of what first responders and emergency management agencies need to help folks prepare for and recover from disaster events.

ProPac: Is there a particular incident or response that the lessons learned were passed on to others in The Red Guide to Recovery?

Scott: When first responders leave the scene of a disaster, the survivors are left to figure out their recovery on their own. There have been many situations where people have shared with me how the timely information contained in The Red Guide kept them from making uninformed decisions or making choices that could have hindered their recovery. The moment of need is when the first responders finish the response phase and get ready to go back into service. This is when first responders can spend a few precious minutes with people and empower them with knowledge before they are left to fend for themselves

ProPac: If you were “Ruler For A Day” what would you like to change in Disaster Recovery?

Scott: That every fire department in the U.S. would have copies of The Red Guide on their engines so they could be handed out to people immediately after any type of disaster event, large or small.  All to often disaster survivors ask first responders “What do I do now?”, and until now, their wasn’t any comprehensive resources available to effectively answer that question.

ProPac: What is the most satisfying part of working in Disaster Preparedness?

Scott: Knowing that my 35+ years of experience is making a difference and helping families be better prepared. I feel very blessed to know that this book is helping families across the country rebuild their homes and lives.

ProPac: What is the most frustrating part of working in Disaster Preparedness?

Scott: Disaster preparedness is often looked at as a negative and expensive topic.  Most people want to avoid it and often think that their insurance company or the government will take care of all their needs.  More often than not, this just doesn’t happen and people find themselves caught in the recovery quagmire when a disaster does strike.

ProPac: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Scott: Surf, spearfish, and hike with my family.

ProPac: What would be your advice to someone who just encountered a disaster and needed help?

Scott: Don’t be hasty to sign ANYTHING! Take your time and get sound advice before making any decisions or signing contracts with anyone for anything. Oftentimes disaster survivors are only a signature away from becoming a disaster victim.

 
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