Road America Service Providers –
Preparedness to Respond During and After a Disaster
Businesses of all sizes must be prepared to respond to emergencies and disasters of all types and roadside assistance companies are not an exception. Disasters often cause businesses to temporarily close and cease operations which results in financial loss as well as interruption in servicing customers. Besides avoiding this scenario, most roadside assistance companies will also attempt to capitalize on the potential of increasing service volume resulting from an emergency.
Road America Service Providers range in size and infrastructure which typically is a determinant of the level and capacity of their preparations for an extraordinary event. Geographical base location generally determines how a company will prepare according to the risks and vulnerability involved. Companies in Florida may prepare differently from those in California, for example, due to the characteristics and likelihood of potential natural disasters.
Without a doubt, the number one concern is safety, for customers, staff and the general public. Adequate training and proper equipment are essential for preparing employees to safely handle emergency situations. Just as important is maintaining continuous communication between our dispatchers and those of our service providers and their drivers. When questioned about what steps providers take to ensure that communication is preserved during an emergency, Road America’s Northeast Area Manager, Erin Bray cites the exemplary measures summarized below taken by one of our National Accounts, Pop A Lock of New York: “Their Emergency generators are activated. Ring times are shortened with overflow rolling to their Centex dispatch in Temple, TX. In the event of a total outage, they have the ability to roll 40 lines at the flick of a switch to that call center. In the event of internet outage, they have back up internet sites throughout five NY boroughs to set up a remote system for job assignments. For Blackberry and or android outages, they have the ability to change their dispatch system over to text, SMS or G-mail. If all these fail, they have navigators in each borough with whom the techs will report to and take services from via “old school” methodology. During severe weather situations, they have a pick-up and delivery service for all dispatchers in all shifts…..”
According to PAL of New York owner, Carl Napolitano, the only time in 25 years of that they were forced to have an interruption in service, was during Hurricane Sandy and even then it was only for a few hours. Backup systems and dispatch locations are not uncommon. “Catastrophic events will not impact our call center operations. Every critical system has at least one level of redundancy. Multiple dispatch locations are functioning today with plans to expand this year,” guarantees Auto Rescue owner Mike Inman in a company presentation with our team earlier this year as reinforcement of his commitment to Road America and our clients.
Another consideration in preparing for an emergency is the availability of extra fuel at a time when locally in the emergency area, supply will be scarce or non-existent. “Typically in disaster areas fuel is the much needed commodity”, explains Jack Rabbit USA owner Ted Kaufman. His company will arrange for fuel delivery to the affected area from nearby locations in order for their everyday operations to continue with normality.
To sum up, the measures taken by roadside companies to prepare for emergency situations are many and they vary from company to company and from location. Hopefully, most will only need to practice and never have to implement them.
However, in case of an emergency and thanks to the dedicated work of our Provider Network Team, Road America is privileged to count on a highly reliable network of the top safety and organizational oriented providers in the industry to service our customers in a time of need.