Recently, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma devastated communities across Texas and Florida , leaving thousands of people in need of food and shelter. During natural disasters and other emergencies, many people rely on their local fleet organizations for many things. That’s why it is important to develop and maintain an effective emergency preparation plan for your fleet. In this post, learn our top tips for developing your emergency plan, including what to do with your fuel and how to determine key contacts.
In most cases, the National Weather Service will notify communities of impending storms or natural disasters a few days in advance of storm touchdown. Fleet organizations must use this time wisely, and proactively prepare for the coming storm.
Here’s what you should keep track of when you know there is a storm headed your fleet’s way:
What is the storm’s progress? Check weather reports and updates frequently so you have a better idea of when it will affect your area.
What are your inventory levels? Restock any essential assets that are running low before the storm hits.
What are your fuel levels? Fuel is vital during an emergency. Fill or top off any tanks or vehicles in advance.
Where are your generators? If your organization has backup generators, make sure they are in working order.
How will you handle non-stock equipment or assets? You may not have enough emergency generators and equipment. Have a plan in advance by setting up reciprocal sharing agreements with neighboring municipalities or pre-negotiated rental rates with local companies.
Often, the primary role of the fleet department in an emergency situation is to keep first responders and other emergency personnel in the field helping people. This means their vehicles must be fueled and in good repair. While your current fueling schedule likely works well during normal circumstances, it could backfire during an emergency.
Here are four tips for emergency fuel preparedness:
Have you contacted your main fuel provider about your emergency plan for fuel? This plan should involve fuel demand forecasting, pre-planning with local or state emergency agencies and commitments for stand-by fuel supplies.
How long will your fuel reserves last? An emergency fuel supply should be able to last at least 72 hours. According to FEMA, 72 hours is their average response time during emergencies.
Which area of your organization needs fuel first? Create a priority list for receiving emergency fuel deliveries so your most essential vehicles can do their jobs faster.
Is your fuel storage safe? Purchase water-tight seal caps for your fuel tanks and vehicles in case of flooding or other water damage.
Knowing who to call before, during and after an emergency is key to your fleet’s success. Contracting fuel providers, insurance representatives, agencies dealing with emergency management (like FEMA) and local law enforcement is recommended for any fleet facing an emergent situation.
How will your reach key personnel? Keep an updates list of contacts to connect with in case a disaster strikes. In the middle of an emergency, you don’t want to be scrambling to find the right number.
What if your normal communication channels aren’t available? Make sure your contact information has backups. If a landline suddenly becomes unavailable due to power outages, it’s vital to have the cell numbers of your essential emergency contacts.
Tip: People may be wary to give out their personal contact information. When asking for these numbers, promise to only use them during emergencies and keep that promise.
Putting your plan into action
While your vehicles and assets are important, your employees’ safety is also vital. Include the emergency plan in training sessions for new employees and share it at regular intervals for experienced staff.
No matter how much you plan and prepare, the only way to truly test your emergency plan is to experience an emergency. When it comes to your worst-case scenario, you want to be sure that you have prepared in advance.
After an emergency, you should review your processes with your entire organization. Which areas of your plan weren’t effective? Which were?
Don’t let your emergency plan collect dust. Keep going back to review your plan to ensure the safety and efficiency of your fleet organization during a crisis.