Caterpillar and Cat® Dealers Help Customers Weather the Storms
Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria became household names in 2017 during a hurricane season that brought historic floods and caused immeasurable damage. As the areas surrounding Houston, the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and many other impacted Caribbean islands responded to the storms and began the long process of recovery, Caterpillar and Cat® dealers were there each step of the way with equipment, hands-on support and donations that helped those affected get back on track. The reaction was similar when historic floods impacted Peru in March, when an earthquake rocked Mexico City in September and when a volcanic eruption required evacuations in the Philippines in January 2018. The teams helped meet special customer requests for the emergency and provided rental machines and worked with local authorities.
Our work began before any of the storms reached land. The mission of the Assurance of Supply Center (ASC) Situation and Events (S&E) team is to provide timely, reactive responses to disruptions in supply. We know that generators are used primarily when power is unavailable for long periods of time, and that severe weather often leads to power loss. Using the best available storm predictions, ASC S&E provided meaningful data to help business partners make better decisions regarding storm response.
The team began tracking then-tropical storm Harvey when it was still located more than 200 miles off the coast of Barbados. As the storm’s intensity increased, the team deployed extra portable generators to local Cat dealers and retail partners to be ready when the storm hit its targeted path in Texas. By moving product before our customers even knew they needed it, countless Texas residents had power when they needed it most.
After the storms hit, Cat Rental Power provided over 1,800 generator sets to deliver over 1.44 GW of power to affected areas. The generator sets were deployed by land, sea and air to thousands of customers including hospitals, data centers, wastewater treatment plants, cellular towers and commercial and industrial facilities. Caterpillar is also a major supplier to FEMA, and deployed more than 260 generator sets to help the agency restore critical infrastructure in the most seriously impacted regions.
In addition, the Caterpillar Foundation donated $300,000 to aid the American Red Cross in immediate relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.
Cat dealers were instrumental to our response, donating a total of seven articulated trucks driven by volunteer operators. The trucks have enough clearance to operate on flooded roadways, making them ideal for helping with rescue operations and delivering food and supplies to isolated shelters. Texas dealers Mustang Cat and Holt Cat partnered with first responders and local law enforcement in the storm’s immediate aftermath. As the flood waters receded, they shifted into higher gear, stocking up on light towers, portable generators, machine attachments to support cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
When Hurricane Irma essentially wiped out power to Puerto Rico, Cat dealer Carolina Cat, based in Charlotte, NC, reached out to see how they could help fellow dealer RIMCO Cat of Puerto Rico. Power systems techs were dispatched, and, together with RIMCO Cat employees, worked 12-16 hour days over multiple weeks to deliver general maintenance and repairs to Cat generators at hospitals, industries and businesses all over the island.
In Florida, Caterpillar and the Kelly Tractor Cat Rental Store assembled 22 volunteers and two skid steer loaders to clear debris and assist 15 families whose homes had been ravaged by Hurricane Irma. Two operators from the Caterpillar Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center were dispatched to ensure work was completed safely.
Caterpillar continues to support customers recovering from the storms. Cat Financial offered payment relief for customers affected by Harvey and Irma. Depending on customers’ needs, Cat Financial offers skip payments or interest-only payments for a period of time, allowing customers to focus on getting back on their feet. The relief team has contacted nearly 3,000 customers for a total of $83 million in payment relief.
Helping our customers build a better world doesn’t stop when disaster strikes. The storms of 2017 were unprecedented in scope and damage incurred, and in a time of need, Caterpillar provided support to match.
The Caterpillar Foundation is a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). This program provides a funding base that allows the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by global disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria. This model has proven to be efficient and effective in immediately meeting disaster relief needs, ensuring the Red Cross has the funds to prepare for disasters before they occur. In addition to our investment in the ADGP, employee, retiree and dealer employee contributions to the American Red Cross are eligible for matching by the Caterpillar Foundation. In 2017, the Foundation matched disaster relief donations of more than $152,000. Separately, the Caterpillar Foundation’s investment with Give2Asia serves as a similar model for providing disaster support specifically within China.
Cat dealer Monark Equipment in the Philippines has long supported the surrounding community, particularly in support of education and displaced families. When Mount Mayon, a cone shaped volcano on the island of Luzon, erupted in January of 2018, Monark was quick to recognize the needs of 237 families in an evacuation center in Legazpi City. Monark led a donation campaign that, with the help of other local organizations, provided food, blankets, and other necessary items to these families. In total, over 84,000 people were evacuated and moved to temporary resettlement areas.