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Inspection Tech Finds Role in Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Recovery Efforts

In the upcoming weeks, Texas Energy Raters will take infrared drone technology to Puerto Rico to help conduct aerial inspections.

(TNS) — Puerto Rico has struggled since it was devastated in September 2017 by Hurricane Maria, but a small Midland company is looking to make a big impact in the territory’s recovery.

Among Texas Energy Raters’ services is using a drone-mounted thermal camera to inspect roofs for water leaks and damage. Texas Energy Raters will take its equipment to Puerto Rico in the coming weeks to inspect factories.

“They had a national disaster and are trying to build back,” owner Peter Walper told the Reporter-Telegram recently. “A lot of the large buildings have sustained roof damage. We’ve been hired to fly over several roofs and see how badly they’re damaged and what kind of repairs need to be made.”

Texas Energy Raters was hired after speaking up and offering to help. An employee mentioned in an off-hand comment during a training session the company would consider working in Puerto Rico. Not too long after, the Midland business got the call.

“We’re members of a national infrared group called United Infrared,” Walper said. “They have contracts with larger companies; if they get a job, they’ll call us and ask if we can fly it. We’re part of the National Roofing Partnership, also, which gives us a foot in the door.”

At a minimum, Texas Energy Raters will inspect three factories over the course of a week; however, Walper said the company will check as many roofs as needed — there’s just one problem: “We have found it’s a logistics nightmare.”

Road accessibility and other issues could hinder the number of roofs Texas Energy Raters can inspect. “To be honest, I have no idea what Puerto Rico looks like. We’re flying by the seat of our pants,” Walper said.

Plus, precipitation is an issue. Walper said Puerto Rico has seen rainy weather recently, which inhibits accurate water damage assessments and has caused delays in departing Midland for the Caribbean island territory.

Still, Walper isn’t dismayed.

“Here’s an area that’s been demolished because of a natural disaster, and everyone is pulling together to rebuild it,” he said. “If we can go down there, fly the drone and do what we do so they can get back up faster, cheaper and easier, then, for us, it’s a positive because our drone is working for not only an economic benefit, but a personal benefit as far as the population is concerned.”

“What we’re flying down there for are factories,” he added. “If a factory can’t run because the roof is leaking, then it changes the whole economic scales. If we can get down there and map out the roof and the roofing company can come back and finish it. We might find they need to only replace a portion of the roof, the factory is back in business faster. That’s somewhat of a way for us to give back to the community.”

©2018 the Midland Reporter-Telegram (Midland, Texas) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.