CASE STUDY: Retail Chain Evacuates During Hurricane

CASE STUDY:

Retail Chain Evacuates During Hurricane

BACKGROUND

Hurricane Katrina; New Orleans, LA (2005) - Category 3 Hurricane (at landfall) that caused the levees to break, flooding the city and forcing mass evacuations.  Over 1800 people lost their lives.


At the time of the storm a major office supply chain operated over 50 stores and a major warehouse in New Orleans.  


They also were responsible for hundreds of employees that lived and had families in the region.

DECISIONS MADE

A calling-tree system was used for employees to check-in on other employees.


There was no over-arching plan to respond or recover from such a major disruption.

RESULTS

90% of their stores were directly impacted by the hurricane.


Many employees were unaccounted for.


Some were found living in cars.


Others stood in-line to get into the Super Dome, a last minute shelter.


Some paychecks were never cashed.


Company representatives re-entered 4 weeks after the hurricane's landfall to discover mass looting at their abandoned facilities.


They negotiated with the local police department by asking that if the police stopped the looters, the police could keep whatever was left.


The majority of their inventory was written-off as a complete loss.


Employees were eventually paid for 4 weeks as a result of the company's business interruption insurance.  Some were provided transfers to other stores to maintain their employment.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The quality and effectiveness of employee care after a disaster plays a major part in determining the survivability and viability of your organization.

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