Less than two months later, Enterprise Rent-A-Car once again was preparing to support emergency responders with critical mobility needs. But this time it was Superstorm Sandy – and Enterprise was quickly contacted by FEMA, the Red Cross and local utility companies to help manage anticipated vehicle needs of these government officials and relief agencies.
As recently noted in a Government Executive magazine article – headlined “Crisis Management: Storm Surge” – such longstanding relationships can be just as important as our extensive network of local Enterprise branch offices. As described in the article, we are always standing by to coordinate at the federal, state and municipal levels: “…a national emergency also can open up program opportunities at the state and local levels, where the company’s operating units in 7,000 locations can step in.”
In situations like these, we know the two most important factors are communication and cooperation. Enterprise is prepared to respond quickly and seamlessly to move vehicles around the country and into affected areas. Our Emergency Action Plan and disaster response measures help us to be both quick and nimble with our response. And beyond these protocols, our people consistently rise to the occasion.
Sandy forced us to close more than 400 branches in the affected areas and damaged hundreds of our vehicles. Upon returning to work, many of our employees discovered their offices had no heat or electricity. But rather than keep their doors closed, they operated in makeshift offices and completed rental contracts by hand.
Even New York Governor Cuomo recognized these efforts. Thousands of vehicles were relocated to the New York metro area alone. In addition, we diverted thousands of new cars – previously slated for other parts of the country – to the region. This enabled us to rent more than 27,000 vehicles right after the storm in New York and New Jersey.
Our team clearly went above and beyond to bring much-needed local transportation to the neighborhoods affected by Sandy. And as people continue to slowly recover in the aftermath of the storm, I want to offer thanks to our employees and countless other community members who came together to support their neighbors during such a challenging time. I can’t say it better than several of the customers who visited our Enterprise locations:
Valley Stream, NY: “Thank you for your excellent service in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Although your branch was out of power and had no phone service, not only did you service all the distressed customers, but you were efficient, kind and very courteous.”
Bay Ridge, NY: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your diligent staff for helping me acquire a rental car during the Hurricane Sandy ordeal. I can ALWAYS count on Enterprise to be there for me and I appreciate your efforts immensely.”
Westbury, NY: “It gave us a little bit of hope to get us back on the road to rebuilding our lives — both literally and figuratively. Thank you for being there when we needed you, Enterprise.”
I’m proud that our grassroots response to Sandy was not unique; Enterprise has long supported the needs of American communities in times of disaster, including Hurricane Irene and the recent wildfires in Colorado. The Enterprise Rent-A-Car network has become an integral part of the local transportation network throughout the country. And, as highlighted in Government Executive magazine, we see it as our responsibility to take care of our communities, longtime partners and local customers when natural disasters and emergencies arise.