When disaster strikes, customers and communities know they can depend on Herc Rentals to provide the equipment and expertise that’s needed to return to normal.
Over the years, Herc Rentals has responded to hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, winter storms and more. Each event brought new challenges and new demands for power, fuel storage, cooling, heating, remediation and more. Each time, Herc Rentals was there to help our customers and communities recover effectively, efficiently and safely.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Garrett Williams, a Herc Rentals branch manager in Houston said about a winter storm that brought record snowfall and record lows to portions of the Southwest and Southern and Central Plains. Seventy people died and nearly nine million people experienced a loss of power from the storm.
Williams, who expected a loss of power, but not the amount of snowfall or how long temperatures would remain below freezing, said it seems these 100-year-storms, whether it’s a hurricane, flood or snowstorm, are happening more frequently.
“We heard a lot of ‘We’ll be fine. It’s not going to be that bad,’” he said. It’s the same thing others have said before tropical storms and minor hurricanes. That’s why it’s important to take weather forecasts seriously.
“With hurricanes, you get real forecasting,” said Williams, noting the direction, wind speed, rainfall and storm surge forecasts that come with every hurricane warning. “The only thing we really knew about this was that it was going to be really cold.”
“It was a crazy storm, but our team was prepared,” said Matt Anderson, the district manager who oversees markets in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Oklahoma City and Kansas City. “The South Central ProSolutions district’s response was amazing.”
That response has a lot to do with experience and fine-tuning recovery efforts after every storm, explained Kansas City Branch Manager David Baldwin. “We have that philosophy that none of us are done until we’re all done.”
“No textbook or classroom can really prepare you for something like this,” added Josh Helm, a coordinator who gained valuable disaster recovery experience during the 2020 Iowa derecho. “When we saw it was going to be below zero, that’s when we knew we had to react fast.”
Before the storm arrived Herc Rentals branches in the affected areas began pulling in generators, fuel tanks, heating, remediation equipment, and more from around the country. Success in these situations, Helm said depends on preparation and anticipating the needs of customer.
“We were ready to go as soon as the roads opened,” said Williams, noting that a normal delivery from Houston to San Antonio takes about three hours. “Because of how bad the roads still were, it took one of our drivers nine.”
Whether it was answering calls, relaying information to sales reps, pre-screening new customers for follow-ups, or staging equipment for delivery, and more, Helm said the 12- to-14-hour days that followed the storm were a blur.
“Once gear came off rent, it went directly to a waiting customer,” Helm said.
After the rolling blackouts were over, people had power, and the ice melted, it looked like nothing had ever happened, Anderson said. “But yet there were so many water loss jobs for our restoration team that we had as much gear on rent as any major hurricane.”
Disaster response is a team effort and when it’s efficient and effective, customers notice, Williams explained. “We worked together, and we delivered. We did it to our standards, to our customers’ standards — and we did it safely.”
In addition to providing needed equipment, customers have to be able to trust their equipment rental partner for mission-critical solutions, Baldwin said. “We proved we’re the best at what we do. We proved we should be their first call.”
For information about Herc Rentals, equipment rentals, and more, click HERE.