— Jim Orr, Asplundh, PA
— Walter Dodge, Lewis Tree Service, PA
A storm agreement or contract focuses on exactly what needs to be in place and from whom. The contract must be scalable and should align with the existing emergency response system.
Fully equipped crews, including contracted and mutual aid crews assigned to storm emergency response, must be prepared to do any job they are given.
- Understand that contracts made prior to events tend to be optimistic, the reality is often very different.
- Plan for the worst case scenario.
- Pre-qualify contractors to ensure they have the experience and training needed.
- Develop relationships with contractors, arborists, and others to support the program.
- For cities with no contracts in place identify contractors or utilities that might provide support and help, or consider a mutual aid agreement with a utility.
— Daniel Rohe, Rohe’s DPS, Inc.
The following components are considered essential to a contract. Take your time in developing the list of requirements. Leave nothing to interpretation.
1. Purpose, timing and length of the contract.
2. The chain of command and specifically who is in charge.
3. Pre-qualification requirements such as orientation, training, or meeting of local key players.
4. Types of emergency response and/or recovery services that may be needed.
5. Emergency response language and definitions.
6. The scope of the contract to ensure the most efficient use of resources.
7. Description of the arborist services and staffing needs. For example:
- Minimum number of crews needed.
- Defining what a crew is – leave nothing to interpretation.
- When the services may be needed and the duration, starting and ending times, for example available for emergency calls 24 hours a day.
- Contract tree crew personnel should come prepared for extended stays.
- Materials, tools and equipment to accomplish the safe execution of all work.
- The number and type of equipment and resources needed. For example:
- For aerial lifts – the truck number and date of dielectric testing.
- The amount and types of tools and personal protection equipment needed (PPE).
- A competent field supervisor and customer contact person(s) acceptable to the organization. Provide the contact information and contact method.
- The pay classification of each contracted crew along with union certification level.
- Current OSHA safety and other training, including annual refreshers.
- Current tree rescue and climbing certification.
- Dates crew members completed first aid and CPR training.
8. Contractor contact information – phone, cell, beeper, etc.
9. Ensure the contractor holds a state license and has:
- Appropriate equipment operation license.
- Appropriate storm training, certifications and qualifications.
10. Insurance and indemnification.
- Indemnification: Contractor shall be held solely liable and indemnify the organization fully for any and all claims and legal expenses for damages to trees resulting from violations, failure or damages arising out of the Contractor’s negligence. Consult your insurance company for more information.
- Statement as to when the Contractor is not liable for work.
11. Reporting. For example:
- Time sheets and invoicing.
- Federal accident or other reports if required.
12. Predetermined meeting times to start the day and to debrief – for example – 6 am and 6 pm.
13. How to deal with vegetative debris.
14. Citations of OSHA and ANSI standards.
15. Internal and external communication protocols.
16. When the contractors and partners are to be included in trainings and drills.
Abernathy, L., (2011 May 20) Davey Resource Group. Storm response interview.
Dodge, W., (2011 July 20) Lewis Tree Service, Inc. Storm response interview.
Eckert, K. (2012 November 26) Arbor Global. Storm response interview.
Escobedo, F., Northrop, R., Zipperer, W. Developing an Urban Forest Management Plan for Hurricane-Prone Communities Retrieved on June 30, 2012 from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_trees_and_hurricanes
Maloney, J. (2011 May 11) National Grid. Storm response interview.
Maloney, J. Wright, N., Bodkin, T. (2012 September 7) Review of document pages.
McCabe, J. (2012 May 3) Davey Resource Group. Discussions at Expert Meeting.
Orr, J., (2011 June 23) Asplundh. Storm response interview.
Rohe, D., (2011 June 11) Rohe’s DPS INC. Storm response interview.
Stenbeck, A. (2011 June 8) WA DNR. Storm response interview.