If there’s anything this summer has taught us, it’s that Mother Nature isn’t always so motherly. Even if your location might preclude you from hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Maria, there aren’t many places in the world that aren’t exposed to some kind of natural disaster or severe weather system—be it flooding, ice storms, wildfires, earthquakes, or tornadoes.
With this in mind, we can’t stress enough how important it is to the success of your fleet to prepare for emergencies with a thorough and documented plan. After all, waiting for chaos to descend isn’t the best time to start thinking about what your fleet needs.
Admittedly, there’s some background work that goes into preparing your fleet for an emergency, but writing the document itself doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Here are four things you’ll want to touch on in your emergency plan document.
- List the names and contact information for whom to contact, in what order
- Include backup channels (landlines, cell phones, radio frequencies), should one channel get cut off
- Make sure you update this list regularly
- Include appropriate safety training documentation, outlining what is expected of your drivers in severe weather, under what conditions they should drive, and when they should get off the roads and seek shelter
- List responsibilities of your fleet in the event of an emergency
- If your operation requires a back-up generator, include where to find it and instructions on how to start it up
- Summarize plans with local or state emergency agencies for stand-by fuel supplies; ideally you should have enough fuel to last your fleet at least 72 hours
- If applicable, list in order of priority which vehicles in your fleet need fuel, so your most critical vehicles are readily available
- Include any and all agreements with insurance representatives, fuel providers, FEMA, or local law enforcement
- Fuel up and restock fuel inventory in damage-proof containers
- Pay attention to fuel-demand forecasting, and act accordingly
- Monitor the storm system regularly, and keep in contact with your staff
- Remind staff of the safety protocol
- Locate back-up generators, if needed
- Ensure your vehicles are in good repair
- Get watertight caps for your fuel tanks and vehicles in case of flooding or other water damage
Our hope is that you never have to use any of this, but should you need to, you will be so happy you took the time to prepare.