A Follow up to Hurricane Irma and Mexico's Earthquake
It was a very distressing weekend monitoring the devastation in Florida with Hurricane Irma and while we know some of our employees have been displaced from their homes, we have contacted most of them and they are safe. Prior to the storm, we created a check-in system and continue to reach out to employees who we have not heard from. And as power and cell towers are recovered, our intent is to account for all employees and determine their and their family’s personal situation. Irma also hit close to home for me, literally, as I have family in Tampa and Ft. Myers. They are also safe which I am grateful for.
Four of our six sites in Florida have power and clean water and are open for business. A site in Miami is without power and a site in Tampa is in an area that is currently restricted to first responders. Our guidance to employees working in accessible locations is to report to their site only if they feel safe. In advance of Irma making its way towards Georgia and South Carolina, our sites in Atlanta, Columbia, and Seneca closed early to give employees the time they needed to tend to their families and personal situations at home. We did receive a report last night that our distribution center in Atlanta does not have power, but employees who work in the facility are safe.
As we prepare to assist our colleagues and customers in Florida, we will follow the similar structure, protocol, and response plan as we did for Hurricane Harvey. With 16 counties in Florida currently declared by the Federal Emergency Management Association in need of emergency assistance, we will institute the Schneider “We Care” program to help local distributors. Further, some calls for assistance from customers have started to come in and we expect more as they continue their assessments. Once demand does pick up, as there have been reports of millions without power, we will be ready from a labor and capacity standpoint. In fact, the planning with suppliers that we did ahead of the storm paid off as we took early deliveries and quick shipments of supplies which will help in the manufacture of products to support the most urgent recovery needs.
In terms of customer outreach for Irma, we emphasized the need to be prepared in our communication to them. In addition, our Marketing team will monitor the situation and determine the next steps to be taken to generate public awareness around being safe upon returning to homes and businesses as they did for Harvey.
As for last week’s earthquake in Mexico, a more detailed investigation concluded that no employee injuries resulted from its impact and all sites have resumed normal operations. We did suffer rack damage in our distribution center and are repairing it. Progress also continues in the aftermath of Harvey, who is not forgotten, with the teams engaged and prepared to assist employees, customers, and the communities in the affected areas.
There’s no question the last couple of weeks have been destructive for many. Lives have been turned upside down with many experiencing tragic loss in some form. Through all of this, my hope is that the safety and well-being of our employees remains unchanged (e.g., no one is injured) and that the rebuilding efforts for them and our customers will put them on the road to recovery.