Hurricane Florence made landfall two weeks ago, bringing catastrophic flooding to North and South Carolina—a region barely recovered from Hurricane Matthew two years ago. Flooding is expected to continue as trillions of gallons of rainwater finds its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Though the storm itself has moved on, hazards will remain for weeks and even months. It reminds us how important it is to create a natural disaster preparedness plan for your business, including steps for before, during, and after a hurricane. If you don’t have a plan yet, don’t wait for the run-up to the next hurricane—start creating it now, with the effects of Florence fresh in mind.
Below, we provide some tips and resources to help you keep your fleet and drivers prepared, safe, and mobile after a devastating storm.
1. Check all vehicles for damage.
Create a list of needed repairs, and schedule them based on priority level and your access to repair facilities or resources.
2. Secure replacement vehicles, if necessary.
If you need replacement vehicles, source and reserve them immediately. Demand will be high after a natural disaster, and supplies may be affected by disaster conditions.
3. Check local conditions before driving.
Before you put your fleet back on the road, contact local emergency agencies for information—and heed their warnings. More than half of the 47 deaths from Florence so far occurred in vehicles. No appointment or delivery is worth loss of life.
4. Be aware of potential dangers.
Extreme dangers may remain even though the storm has subsided, like downed power lines and floodwaters contaminated with sewage, fuel spills, or toxic chemicals.
5. Avoid water-covered roads
According to FEMA, six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles, and two feet of moving water can carry away a van, SUV, or pickup.
6. Check for operational gas stations when planning routes.
Locate operational gas stations and plan your routes accordingly. The free WEX Connect mobile app can help. So far, fuel prices in the area have been stable—but deliveries could still be affected, impacting availability until conditions improve.
Keeping your fleet moving during a natural disaster may be critical to your business. Having a plan and being prepared could mean the difference between remaining operational and devastation. Be smart, be informed—and stay safe out there.