Case Study: Tailored Lodging Solutions Offer Emergency Response Personnel Flexibility When They Need It Most
When disaster strikes, emergency response personnel move quickly, mobilizing staff and gathering equipment and supplies to meet the needs of those affected. Most federal, state and local agencies have Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs)— preventive programs and protocols around readiness and preparedness in emergency situations—that ensure they are able to continue the performance of essential functions. First responders, secondary responders, government personnel and others supporting these efforts require lodging when taking action during a broad range of emergencies, including natural disasters, domestic and foreign attacks or other unforeseen crises.
Some government agencies are focused entirely on responding to emergency situations. Their mission is to support citizens and first responders as they work together to protect against, respond to and recover from disasters. As part of their COOPs, they must partner with trusted solution providers who can ensure their ability to operate in disaster scenarios, including evacuating, relocating and housing personnel and equipment.
Emergency responders require lodging when supporting relief efforts, and their needs are very unique. One of their main concerns is the flexibility of lease terms, as well as having a range of billing and payment options. Due to the nature of emergency situations, there is often little advance notice of responders’ departure to and from affected locations. In the words of one first responder, “Most of us do not have any control over when our deployment ends. We could get a 24-hour notice that we are leaving the area. Therefore, we cannot sign a lease or contract that forces us to give a 30-day notice. Also, we submit a voucher every 14 days, so we need a bill reflecting that period of time and a zero balance.”
Seasonality also affects the availability of lodging in different markets. Depending on the area and time of year, lodging options can be extremely limited. Additionally, the areas impacted in emergencies are often remote, with an extremely limited supply of quality accommodations or housing that meets agencies’ standards.
With the industry’s most expansive global inventory of furnished and serviced apartments, Oakwood® enables agencies to respond quickly to emergency and disaster scenarios wherever they occur. We work with agencies in advance to map out responses and protocols—including notification systems and crisis hotlines to manage communications—to guarantee COOPs are met and ensure emergency response personnel are able to provide uninterrupted support to those in need. Our lodging solutions include:
- Premium accommodations within most per diems that meet agency quality and safety standards
- Dedicated, responsive government account managers who understand agencies’ requirements, including 24-hour out notices
- Flexible payment and billing options
- 24/7/365 customer care through a network of more than 200 service professionals ready to support emergency response personnel the moment a disaster or emergency occurs, sometimes even before
- Short - and long-term lodging contracts negotiated through our GSA Schedule 48 and put in place prior to the need
When Hurricane Sandy devastated many coastal communities on the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Connecticut in 2012, Oakwood® provided 100 apartments in New York to house federal emergency response agency personnel assisting in the rescue and recovery effort. Between its branded buildings and fixed inventory, Oakwood® was able to quickly and easily support the volume and flexibility of terms the federal emergency response agency required.
In both 2015 and 2016, Oakwood® played a significant role in supporting this federal emergency response agency’s efforts in response to flooding in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and Louisiana. In 2017, Oakwood® assisted more than 230 federal emergency response agency personnel during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, providing accommodations for the first responders who supported the critical rescue and recovery efforts following these epic storms. Additionally, Oakwood® was able to meet the housing needs of government personnel who traveled to support a Las Vegas call center when hurricane-related call volumes surged.
As one emergency response guest noted:
“In short, Oakwood® responded immediately when I called for an ExecuStay® opportunity. I am deployed on the federal emergency response agency hurricane recovery, working 12-16 hour days and although I won’t be around my amazing apartment much—I can’t tell you how much it is helping me in my mission. I’m also most impressed by the Oakwood® staff and how they handled some contractual concerns I had. The quality of the facility is beyond my imagination.”
Over the past decade, Oakwood® has been a valued resource for federal emergency response agencies, providing housing for emergency personnel responding to significant seasonal weather disturbances, from lake effect snowstorms in the northeast to tornadoes in the plains. With a proven track record of service, Oakwood® is a provider agencies can depend upon to ensure smooth and continued operations when natural disasters, attacks or other emergency situations occur.
To learn more about Oakwood®’s extended stay lodging solutions for government, visit Oakwood.com/Government, or call toll free +1.888.268.9998.