Glowing Review From The Department Of Justice

In April of 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring 22,000 more. The earthquake's impact was compounded by Nepal's mountainous and rural nature, making aid delivery extremely difficult. Western Shelter is always up for a challenge, so when the US Department of Justice called us to assist the Nepalese Police we were ready to jump into action.

Although the earthquake took place two years ago, we just received a reminder of the event in the form of a glowing review from the Department of Justice. We have included the unedited report below, with the addition of pictures from the incident response.

Quality

In response to a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in April 2015, killing over 9,000 persons and rendering over 100 police stations and many court facilities inoperable, Western Shelters was contacted to provide temporary shelters to allow the Nepal criminal justice to resume operations.

 
 

Western Shelter products were observed in use on the ground by various USG entities soon after the earthquake and noted to be of excellent quality. It was noted that these shelters possessed sufficient durability and versatility to enable their deployment in such a harsh environment. This was extremely important consideration in light of the Nepal Police critical needs, particularly in light of the impending monsoon season. It was quickly determined these shelters could fill a crucial role in putting police stations and court facilities back online.

Western Shelters immediately responded to our request for information and was able to quickly help DOJ determine the best product in their inventory to address the on-the-ground needs. This was followed by a readout of precise product quantities on hand, manufacturing projections, shipping options and general overall ability to meet our mission requirements. It was obvious from first contact that Western Shelter personnel were routinely accustomed to responding to crisis situations and fully prepared to perform satisfactorily in every step of the process.

 
Western Shelter's production team after working overtime to fufill the Nepal shipment.

Western Shelter's production team after working overtime to fufill the Nepal shipment.

 

Once the order was placed, Western Shelters helped simplify the complexities involved in packing, shipping and receipt of a very large order through a foreign port. Again, the company’s experience was exceptionally evident. The entire order consisted of two air shipments from the west coast to Kathmandu totaling 83 pallets. Not a single piece of equipment was lost and none arrived damaged.

Western Shelters’ assistance after the purchase was exceptional. At no cost to the government, they sent a factory representative to Nepal to oversee the receipt of the product and provided hands-on training to DOJ and Nepal Police personnel relating to the unpacking and erection of the shelters. When the Western Shelters representative arrived in Nepal it was quite evident he was thoroughly familiar with the product and was able to guide DOJ through every step of the process involving the receipt, inventory and customs procedure. He routinely traveled with DOJ personnel to some of the most devastated areas to oversee the delivery and erection of the shelters. Throughout the weeks the representative spent on the ground, he was subjected to extremely austere work conditions, particularly as the team ventured outside the capital. Many locations lacked electric and the cold rainy weather often made the job quite miserable. Nonetheless, the team pressed forward until all accessible areas received their shelters. The

 

Western Shelter Sales Representative Mike Ottaway assisting with shelter deployemnts in Nepal.

 

Western Shelters product purchased proved to be a very durable and practical solution to address the need for immediate shelter following the massive Nepal earthquake. The shelters, once on the ground, were quickly deployed, erected put into operation to help restore the functionality of the criminal justice system. Without these shelters in place, the opportunity for increased criminality, particularly in regard to the trafficking of women and children, would have been greatly increased.

 

Western Shelters on the ground in Nepal.

 

Schedule

Western Shelters employed every option available to ensure the needed shelters were manufactured, packed and shipped by air in the most expedient manner possible. They kept us informed in every step of the process, allowing DOJ to accurately report the status to the Department of State and the US Embassy in Kathmandu.

Cost Control

Western Shelter worked closely with DOJ officials in Washington, DC, and on the ground in Kathmandu, Nepal, to determine the most cost effective means to ship the product in the shortest amount of time possible. At no cost to the government, the vendor provided a representative to assist in the receipt, customs clearance, training, deployment and erection of the shelters. Training was provided to both DOJ employees, as well as Nepal Police officials, which eliminated the need for DOJ to hire additional personnel for the rollout.

Management

Western Shelters, once in receipt of the order, took charge of the process from day one and managed every aspect of the manufacturing, shipping, receipt and erection of the product. The progress of the order was tracked in an efficient and effective manner, keeping all parties informed of the whereabouts and timeline for delivery.

Regulatory

Western Shelters was thoroughly versed in the overseas shipping and custom regulations, and to the best of our knowledge, complied with all applicable rules throughout the process. The product cleared through customs in a timely manner, allowing for a timely distribution and employment as temporary police stations and court facilities.

NDMS Training In Alabama

Our shelters were in the news again, this time for a National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) training in Alabama. The video provides an excellent example of what our shelters look like fully deployed, and how they would be used in a disaster response scenario.

Big thanks to our team member, Jean-Louis Gomes, for assisting in the training and sharing this story with us!

You can checkout the full report here.

 
 

Costa Rica

We made the news in Costa Rica! One of our field hospitals was deployed so that it could be certified as an EMT-1 (Emergency Medical Team; level 1) facility by the Pan American Health Organization. EMT-1 hospitals perform critical outpatient medical care in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

EMT-1 duties facilities typically cover:

  • Triage, assessment, and first-aid
  • Stabilization and referral of severe trauma and non-trauma emergencies
  • Definitive care for minor trauma and non-trauma emergencies

Click the button below to watch the story. Even if you don't speak Spanish the video provides a great opportunity to see what one of our hospitals looks like fully deployed. Watch it to the end for an appearance by our team member, Jorge Ortiz!

This hospital came fully equipped from Western Shelter. Featured products in this picture include Shelter Insulation, E-Beds, and privacy curtains.

This hospital came fully equipped from Western Shelter. Featured products in this picture include Shelter Insulation, E-Beds, and privacy curtains.

Cold Weather Operations

Regardless of your mission, conducting operations in a cold environment presents unique and significant challenges. You are charged with mitigating risks to personnel safety, preparing your equipment for sustained operations in a harsh environment, and planning ahead to ensure you have the right equipment on hand to support your mission. Here are Western Shelter's six tips to help you prepare for, equip for, and operate safely in, cold weather.

1. Establish a warming shelter
Ensuring you have a shelter designated as a warming station is a great risk mitigation factor. This shelter should be the first established upon arrival at site, even if it is temporary and will be moved once the rest of your shelters are established. 

2. Be mindful of air quality
Another critical safety consideration is the air quality in your shelters. Be careful to place generators, heaters and other exhaust-producing systems as far away from your shelters as possible. Consider wind direction and airflow as well as shelter entry/exit points.  Test and utilize carbon monoxide detectors like the one in the “Shelter Safety Kit” in every shelter, and train personnel what to do in the event a carbon monoxide alarm is tripped. Allow for proper venting of your Western Shelters by ensuring the shelter vent caps are unobstructed and allow air to flow freely. These few, simple steps will help mitigate some of the most significant threats posed to your personnel while operating in cold weather. 

3. Maintain your equipment
Preparing for operations in a cold environment will help ease your set-up and keep your systems operating at peak performance. First and foremost, conduct regular maintenance checks on your equipment. Fuel stabilizer will help protect your generators and heaters between cycles of use. 

4. Limit vinyl constriction
Vinyl will constricts as temperatures drop. Remember the warming shelter we discussed above? Place your wall panel sets and roof panels in the warming shelter to help the vinyl loosen up and become more pliable.

5. Minimize snow loads
It is also important to keep snow and ice from collecting on the roof of your shelter; keeping heat to the shelter will help, but, in case of accumulation, use a broom to carefully pull snow off the roof.

6. Know your equipment
Some of your gear will require special considerations or accessories for cold weather operations. For example: your Western Shelter XE1200 HVAC comes equipped with 2-stage heating, but you need to have the required 50A power cable and an appropriately-sized generator to utilize the auxiliary heating coils.

Cold Weather Equipment

Another critical factor to your success while operating in a cold environment is having the right equipment on hand.  Western Shelter Systems offers several accessories designed to assist in your success:

 
 

Shelter Insulation Package

Optional insulation sets are available for both the roof and the shelter walls.  Insulating your shelter will not only help keep you warm in the winter, but it will also help keep you cool in the summer.  In addition, an insulated shelter will be much more efficient in terms of your HVAC and generator combination. Be prepared for temperature extremes by adding complete shelter insulation packages to each shelter.

 
 

 XE1200 HVAC

With all-in-one cooling, heating and dehumidifying capability, this cart-mounted solution is key to any shelter complex requiring temperature control. Its two-stage heating system is flexible enough to offer great efficiency in any environment. When powered, the auxiliary heat coil will provide significant electric heat and is controlled with a remote thermostat. This coil can also be put into “Emergency Heat” mode for quick, dependable heating capability.

 
 

HT1000 Tri-Fuel Heater Kit

This fuel-fed heater is an extremely efficient solution to provide a stunning amount of heat to any shelter. Providing nearly 100,000 BTU and controlled by an independent and remote thermostat, this system operates safely outside of the shelter and recirculates air through insulated ducts. The heater can be used alone or in conjunction with the Western Shelter XE1200 HVAC System to keep any shelter warm in even the coldest environment.

Vestibule Entryway

The greatest loss of heat comes from personnel entering and exiting the shelter.  Help retain your temperature control inside the shelter by adding a vestibule entryway kit. This can be a complete, stand-alone item, or we can provide a conversion kit to make an on-hand connector vestibule into an entryway vestibule. 

Conclusion

The winter months can create extremely challenging and perilous operating environments, but your mission remains fixed.  Foresight in planning and preparation will likely make the difference between accomplishing that mission or falling short.  Western Shelter Systems is your partner, and we are focused on providing you the right equipment to facilitate and contribute to your success.  Whatever your need, we are here to help: Anywhere, Anytime.