6 Jobs That Need YOU When a Natural Disaster Strikes

Picking up the pieces after a natural disaster is both emotionally and physically draining: not only are you rebuilding and grieving, there are also the questions of how to get basic needs covered. If you’re in the wake of the event firsthand, you may not be sure of what work will look like or how to get back to living life. If you’re an onlooker witnessing what’s happening, you might be considering lending a helping hand or to assist in getting a community back up and running.

Once first responders like the National Guard, Red Cross, and local police and firefighters stabilize an area, there are plenty of opportunities for people to find work both directly in affected areas and for those willing to travel. These jobs give opportunities to rebuild cities and towns, all while allowing you to earn a paycheck as well as new skills. It could even begin the start of a new career.

If you’re ready to take on new experiences while working on projects with purpose, you could be a strong fit for post-disaster work. Disaster relief workers should be ready to adapt quickly and have excellent problem-solving and communication skills.

So, what are some of the jobs in high-demand once an area starts rebuilding?


Lodging situations are a big unknown for many during times of natural disasters. With hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands delayed on top of people being displaced from their homes, hotels are a hub of activity…and they could use help. When booked solid, hotels know how important it is to provide a safe and comfortable place for guests to stay in a time of need. You can be part of that by helping with operations: From housekeepers to cooks to front desk assistants, there are a host of positions to fit different skillsets.

Debris Monitors

One of the most important roles after a natural disaster is that of a Debris Monitor. They ensure that debris resulting from the disaster is overseen and removed safely and effectively. Generally a job entailing physical labor, this can be a solid option for people with warehousing and industrial experience – not to mention movers and heavy-load drivers.

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)

Don’t let the funny name trick you – HAZWOPERs are vital for safety when physical structures are impaired. When hazardous substances or a threat of hazardous substances are released, there are significant dangers not only to workers on site, but the surrounding public and environment too. HAZWOPERs act quickly responding to emergencies and help to manage these hazardous substances. HAZWOPERs must be certified through a 24- to 40-hour OSHA-required course with yearly refreshers, which is understandable given the knowledge needed for this life-saving role.


Before and after any major storm or event, grocery stores are working nonstop to increase deliveries, stock their shelves, and maintain operations. Everyone needs the staples like bread, water, and milk – but consumer reports also show a jump in junk food sales and alcohol right before a hurricane, so all aisles need attendance. Grocery stores require as much as help as they can get when lines are long and product is flying off the shelves.

Call Center Representatives

To handle the high volume of calls coming in and going out, call centers rely on representatives with customer service skills. Acting as representatives of organizations and companies of all industries during this time is exceptionally important, as they may provide direct assistance to disaster victims and others negatively affected. During high times of stress, staying cool and calm while remaining understanding makes an excellent call center representative, which can lead to many positions throughout different companies.

General Labor (Construction, Electricians, Plumbers, and more)

Carpenters, plumbers, construction laborers, and electricians all play a central role in disaster recovery and getting a community back on its feet. If you’re interested in the skilled trades, helping after a natural disaster can be a perfect place to jump in and begin to develop the skills you need for a lucrative lifetime career.

Interested in how to get started looking for your role?
Let your PeopleReady representative help you explore.



About the Author

Anna Mischke is the Content Marketing Specialist for PeopleReady. Stories are what spark Anna and she's continually feeding her curiosity around the constant shifts in marketing, technology, and psychology - and their correlation with one another. Often, she's writing, feverishly reading, illustrating, or sneaking treats to her Scottish Fold kittens.

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