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Manufacturers form relationships with rapid response professionals

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When disaster strikes, relief agencies and other rapid response professionals don’t have time to search for relief products. They need to know who to call. That’s why manufacturers work hard to make their presence known well in advance of trouble. Building these relationships also helps companies stay abreast of relief organizations’ needs, says Edward J. Silva, vice president of sales and marketing for Cooley Group, Pawtucket, R.I. “We work closely with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security,” he explains. “Because they’re government agencies, they often cover the cost of research, so that’s very helpful to us.”

For Shelter Systems in Santa Cruz, Calif., nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) usually light up the phone lines asking for tents following a disaster. “We work with NGOs a lot,” says Eleanor Hamner, the company’s business director. “When something happens, I can be on the phone 24-7 telling people how many tents we’ve got and how fast we can make more.”

Meleah Maynard is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis, Minn.

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