With hurricane Dorian set to hit landfall this Labor Day weekend, the entire state of Florida is under a state of emergency leaving residents, government officials and industries on high alert. In the Southern states, the threat of hurricanes run from June 1 through October but, over the past several years, it seems that late August has been the deadliest and most devastating time. With dozens of tropical storms, sustained winds of 39-75mph and a potential for hurricane force winds up to 110+ mph, fleet management is also bracing with the knowledge that the most important route to take, so to speak, is preparation.
- Be Weather-Ready:Fleet managers and owners know to check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for hurricanes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about hurricane watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
- Sign Up for Notifications: Fleets should consider tools and services that offer notifications Drivers are able to depend on media and smart phones to alert them of severe storms capable of producing hurricanes.
- Create a Communications Plan: Just as reliable communication is essential in logistics and the day to day, so too is smooth communications in the event of severe weather. Fleet managers should always have a plan in place for driver safety as well as the safety of the physical company building. Include emergency meeting places and related information such as basement, interior room on lower floors with no windows.
- Practice Your Plan: Conduct safety drills regularly so everyone knows what to do if a hurricane is approaching the building or the areas that drivers might be. Fleet managers should make sure all employees and drivers know what to do or where to go when hurricane warnings are issued.
- Prepare Your Facility: Fleets should consider having safe rooms reinforced especially if you are in a hurricane belt. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Help Your Community: Encourage your community to prepare for the possibility of damaging hurricanes. Take CPR training and other certifications to help in emergency situations.
Even with the most disciplined plans in place, hurricanes can wreak havoc and put many industries in jeopardy including the trucking industry. Over the last 8 years, hurricane season has delivered some of the most devastating losses in decades, taking hundreds of lives and causing billions in damages. Several trucking related businesses have been impacted, illustrating the vulnerability to the industry. Fleet managers experienced vehicle damage as well as destruction of fleet headquarters. The good news is that these companies and the industry overall has been resilient in the face of catastrophe. As quickly as a hurricane hits, fleet managers are already responding to the needs of the day and the repercussions that will follow.
Fleet Cards and Mobile Apps Can Also Save Lives
Experience along with technology has enabled storm strategies that are even more proactive and comprehensive. In the event of severe weather, drivers will do best to take shelter but if they are not in a location to find immediate and safe shelter, there are tools and systems to turn to. One tool often forgotten is a fuel card. A comprehensive fuel card and fleet management solution can provide a way to manage and control spending, but it can also provide access to guidance in the event of severe weather.
- Powerful mobile apps to access your account, help drivers find the nearby fuel, truck stops and shelter.
- Premium GPS Telematics for tracking vehicle location, speed, fuel use and locations in the event that other communications channels are lost.
- Advanced analytics software to keep you informed, find new ways to save, and streamline your overall fleet operations. Typically used to capture the data you need to keep improving your bottom line but can also provide data in reoccurring storm requirements.
- 24/7 access to help. The WEX fuel card employs a U.S.-based customer service team that takes pride in being there any time a call comes in.
Along with fuel cards, drivers can find support in mobile apps offering everything from a brighter flashlight to police scanner information, and GPS that can help in the safest route out of an effected area. Social Media is also critical for updates in real-time. Weather and news organizations as well as industry partners can help in communicating relevant and information on the impact of the storm.
Additional Fleet Resources from WEX
- Follow @WEXFleeton Twitter for updates on the ongoing impact of Hurricane Dorian on fuel availability.
- Access your account 24 hours a day by logging in online or downloading the SmartHub mobile app to track spending, make payments, and manage your cards.
- Get the latest fuel prices and closest service stations at your fingertips with WEX Connect, which helps drivers find fuel and service stations available in the local area.
- Check out the WEX Fleet Dispatch blog for additional information and insights on best managing the ongoing impact a natural disaster or fluctuations in fuel prices.
So, while we are just in the thick of the hurricane season, fleet managers can be confident that with comprehensive strategies, technology and partners like WEX, they are prepared to handle whatever the weather can bring. For more on staying proactive in the face of a disaster visit, How to Prepare Your Fleet for a Natural Disaster.