Are you a homeowner or building manager?
Find a Contractor »

Crisis Dispatch Efforts: What We’ve Learned from Hurricane Irma

Posted on:

Hurricane Irma was named as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history. It was a Category 5 storm when it made landfall in Barbuda on September 6, 2017. It sustained catastrophic winds of 185 miles per hour for 37 hours. That’s longer than any storm ever recorded. It even beat Super Typhoon Haiyan, which maintained winds at that level for 24 hours in 2013.[1]

The effects of Hurricane Irma were most devastating as there were millions of Floridians without power as of September 11. Utility companies across the State of Florida have prepared their fleet vehicles to lessen damage and responded in a time efficient manner.

Among the homeowners who lost power, Florida Power & Light (FPL) customers were the most affected, with nearly 4.5 million of its 4.9 million customers faced power outages.[2] Before the storm reached Florida on Friday; September 8, the utility companies assembled restoration crews, trucks, and equipment stationed at more than 20 staging sites throughout its service area. In preparation for the hurricane season each year, FPL conducts extensive training, secures agreements for assistance from out-of-state utilities and electrical contracting companies, orders backup supplies and equipment, and plans staging sites.

As an HVAC Contractor focusing on remediation efforts post water and fire damage, our Fleet Management Platform allowed us to prepare timely and efficiently. Powered by the nation’s largest network provider, we learned and executed measures using invaluable features and capabilities. I feel that features are very important but learning how to use and execute each task needs to be kept in mind.

Before Hurricane Irma made landfall, our first responders and fleet managers were able to generate Vehicle Maintenance report to ensure that each vehicle’s maintenance requirements were met prior to dispatch. Assuring none of our vehicles would be left stranded when responding to our client’s needs.

Another vital feature we found very helpful is ensuring reasonable fuel consumption. Each time hurricane hits Florida, we experience fuel shortage like no other, our fleet managers measure and project our fleet’s carbon footprint, fuel efficiency, historical fuel purchase data and fuel loss due to excessive idling or bad traffic. These reports became our bread and butter at the time fuel was scarce across Florida.

During crisis mitigation, right after curfews has been lifted in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, we established fervor communication between our dispatchers and drivers in reporting road closures as well as obstructions changing traffic flow via mobile app as cellular signal is the only one viable at the time. This real-time communication made a difference in saving time, energy and reduced fuel consumption.

Have you heard of Geofencing? This advanced technology automatically analyzed each of our vehicle’s activity and suggest Geofences accordingly. This feature created a virtual perimeter around our fueling stations, support hubs and most of all, it assisted us in ensuring our team members are safe through reporting. These reports were analyzed by our Fleet Manager in identifying response times in real-time.

To us, the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Irma would have been far more devastating. Our operations team may not have been able to prevent delays, but we were able to minimize such delays and allowed us to be better prepared when crises happen. With the use of our current day technological advancements, we managed to deliver quality service to our clients efficiently, with minimal delay and further assist communities in need in our area.

The brave acts and efforts of fleet drivers, emergency responders, and government officials during Hurricane Irma uplifts what us Americans do best: stand united and strong. With an effective Fleet Management Solution and a team of dedicated individuals, we can work together in promoting efficiency, when it’s needed most.


Andrea Hughes

Posted In: Management

Looking for an ACCA QA Accredited Contractor?

Are you a homeowner or building manager?


join now

PLUS It's Risk Free!