Forklifts can greatly facilitate relief efforts in the wake of a natural disaster.
After the recent hurricanes, Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, disaster relief operations can be very complex and can benefit greatly from the use of forklifts. Forklifts can be used both on site to clear debris and unload delivery trucks and to load emergency supplies on trucks heading to devastated areas.
Here are a few uses of forklifts during Hurricane Harvey and Hurrican Irma:
- In the wake of Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida, tractor-trailers brought relief supplies. By using a forklift, pallets of food, water, and supplies were taken off quickly and distributed.
- Forklifts were used to load MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) at FEMA’s Fort Worth, Texas Logistics Center. The meals were for Hurricane Harvey survivors being loaded into trucks in Fort Worth, Texas.
- A car that became buried by sand during Hurricane Harvey in Port Aransas was taken out using a forklift. The car may have been crushed by trucks driving over it while it was buried on the beach. Read More.
- In advance of a hurricane’s arrival, marina operators used heavy-duty forklifts to quickly pull boats out of the water and move as many of them as possible to temporary storage in safer locations.
Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane
Businesses located on the coast of Florida or Texas are in the direct pathway of many hurricanes that make landfall in the US. Since there is no way to combat a natural disaster like a hurricane, your best solution is proper preparation.
Luckily, local weather stations announce a hurricane’s arrival many days in advance, so there is some time to prepare. A natural disaster can leave extreme damage in its path, but with proper preparation, damages can be minimized.
Here are some things your business can do to prepare for a natural disaster:
- Purchase the right amount of insurance to protect your business and your employees
- Determine whether your business will need for sandbags.
- If you need boards for the windows, plan in advance buying and the best way to install them.
- Plan for loss of electricity. Will you need generators? Are you prepared if it’s out for a week afterward?
- Check all equipment and know how to keep vital machinery running.
- If the authorities call for an evacuation, know what specific tasks need to be complete when there is no one available for any last minute preparations or emergencies.
- Make sure your forklift operators’ safety training is current so they are able to operate the lift truck effectively and efficiently in the wake of a disaster.
- If you do not have an overall emergency disaster plan in place, today is the best time to start to implement one. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website will help you get going with your plan.
OSHA’s Fact Sheet stresses the importance of forklift safety training to better prepare forklift operators, like those in Texas and Florida, to react effectively to natural disasters.
With your own plan in place, your business will be able to react in a coordinated manner, helping others as well as yourself. Make sure that your operators’ forklift safety training is up to date and that you have a plan in place to implement should your forklifts be needed when the next natural distorter occurs.
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