In an effort to relieve the threat to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other cities along the Mississippi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway as part of a flood risk management plan. The plan is designed to minimize damage to property, structures, and to protect millions of people from historic flood levels by diverting the Mississippi floodwaters to the west.
Although this plan will reduce the threat of flooding to the 11 refineries, chemical plants (including some making lubricant base oils and additives), and other facilities along the Mississippi, flooding is expected to sideline some capacity. In addition, river traffic has already been significantly hindered, if not stopped in some areas, and a number of roads have been closed. In fact, several lubricant marketers say it is costing them considerable more time to get to some terminals due to road closures.
Whereas most in the lubricants business have little to no power to influence where the flood waters go, we do have the power to prepare for it before it hits, and to recover as the water level reside.
|Jamie Schleck, President/CEO JFC Technologies|
In an effort to assist our readers affected by the flood, JobbersWorld turned to James "Jamie" Schleck. Jamie is President/CEO at JFC Technologies , a specialty chemical company in Bound Brook NJ. More than just getting his company through several record floods (one that nearly drowned his plant in 15 feet of water), Schleck's ability to prepare and recover from floods has been cited by many as exceptional.
According to Schleck, whereas there is considerably written about disaster readiness and recovery, there are a number of key issues he considers important when dealing with floods. These include:
1. Insurance companies are not your friend. Hire a public adjuster to handle the claim. It's worth the 3% to 5% you will pay them. Rates are negotiable. We had a sliding scale rate that increased with the amount of money we ultimately recovered.
2. NFIP program is pretty good at paying you once you provide the adequate documentation. Let your adjuster handle it all.
3. Pull all motors before the flooding begins. If you don't get them to high ground, then they will have to be rewound and baked.
4. If you are waiting to return to your plant - think of all the mission critical supplies that will be stocked out quickly such as- bottle water, batteries, gloves, tyvek suits, boots etc. Get them NOW. Think of who your employees are that travel far each day to work - have them pick up the needed supplies in their home areas if your local area gets stocked out.
5. Generators and Porta-John's get snapped up quickly. If the power is off to your plant, you should get a generator on site immediately. If the plumbing is not working, get a Porta John.
6. There should be a command center with Emergency Personnel on staff - go there and get all relevant points of contact.
7. Usually there needs to be a formal building inspection before power gets turned on to the grid. Get a certified electrician lined up to go through that inspection with the local inspector.
8. Think ahead of time about long lead-time items: critical raw materials, replace parts for machines, etc. Get them on order now.
9. Prioritize the work areas - you need your plant and labs to be operational before the office and warehouse areas. Focus your recovery efforts on the areas that are most important.
10. Use the recovery effort as a way to build camaraderie - you should have EVERYONE participating in the recovery, not just your plant workers. Bring in outside catering for your workers, take lunch breaks together. This will build the esprit de corps you need to survive.
11. KEEP A JOURNAL - of what gets done on what day. You may need this for insurance recovery.
12. Proactively manage the regulatory authorities - reach out for EPA / DEP / OSHA etc. Let them know you have the situation under control. If necessary, provide them with a brief summary of the damage to your plant and your planned recovery efforts.
JobbersWorld's commentary: Although the flood waters of the Mississippi will eventually be yesterday's news, you can be sure there will be hurricanes, tornadoes, more floods, and other unexpected emergencies that will threaten your facilities in the future. With that said, although you may not be directly impacted by the Mississippi flooding, now is a good time to ask how well your organization is prepared to deal with an emergency, and to pray for those that are living with one today.