Have a plan in place in order to provide much-needed portable sanitation services after a hurricane or other disaster
Houston is suffering the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey while Florida is preparing to withstand Hurricane Irma.
When the word goes out that a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster is headed your way, what can you do to protect your property, equipment and people while also maintaining your ability to provide service for your clients and the public at a time when they need you the most?
Lynn Boyett, owner of Boyett’s Effortless Sanitation in Pensacola, Florida, has faced this situation more times than he cares to remember, as he is located in an area prone to hurricanes.
Of course, there’s only a limited amount you can do to protect yourself against a force of nature, he says, but he has figured out a few things that can be done during and ahead of time.
Top priority: Take care of the company and take care of the customers
When a storm approaches, Boyett’s Effortless Sanitation immediately goes out and tries to tie down or remove as many units along the waterfront or in vulnerable areas as they can. “If it looks like the storm is going to come in a certain way, we go that way first,” Boyett says.
But it’s not possible to get to everything, and when the approaching storm appears imminent, they return to the yard. “We group everything together in a tight little wad and send everyone home — we turn them loose and let them get home to the stuff they’ve got to do.”
Here are six ways you can help keep your portable restroom company safe when storms strike:
1. Make sure you can get calls. Boyett switches the phones over to his house. But phone service — including cell service — may not work. In that case, he relies on push-to-talk radios to communicate with his team. He also uses a remote answering service to take calls and relay them to him by radio.
2. Make sure your office is functional. Boyett has a standby generator in the office, which powers everything — heat, air, lights and the microwave.
3. Make sure you’ll have enough units. Vast numbers of units will be needed in the aftermath of a storm. Make arrangements in advance with other portable restroom companies nearby to bring in more units if you don’t have enough.
4. Make sure you can get fuel. Boyett’s Effortless Sanitation has companies prepared to standby to supply them with diesel and gas. “They make up a list, and we’re in the top five of companies who have priority to get fuel,” he says.
5. Be prepared to handle critical needs first. For example, Boyett’s Effortless Sanitation has a standing order to provide units and daily service to a number of critical entities such as nursing homes and the state of Florida as soon as a warning goes out.
6. Think about natural disaster procedures ahead of time. Doing so will help minimize company losses and ensure your ability to provide essential services to your community.