United Rentals has provided more than $25 million worth of equipment to the regions hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, northeast region vice president Kevin Parr told RER. As the hurricane grew imminent, the company began moving equipment into staging areas in Ritchfield Park, N.J., Elmwood Park, N.J., and West Haven, Conn., to be deployed in the areas hardest hit, which ranged from southern New Jersey into central Connecticut, including most of New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.
“We started bringing in a lot of gear that wasn’t needed up in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, shipping all available generators and light towers that they had,” Parr told RER. “We brought in equipment from Pittsburgh, the Midwest, the Southeast and from pretty much everywhere. We also brought in a lot of retail stock; we took everything we could from Honda, everything we could from Generac. One day in Ritchfield Park we took in 500 Honda generators for one customer. Now there is a lot of need for light towers and generators and we’re getting more into track skid loaders, booms, reach forklifts, industrial forklifts, any machine that can lift.”
On the power and HVAC side of the business, United Rentals provided power to businesses and schools, utilities, gas stations, emergency relief centers and more. “A big part of our business is first-response camps,” said David Scott, northeast regional vice president of the Power & HVAC division. “We’ve got two large camps right now; one of them is a 2,500-man camp, basically temporary living quarters for some of the first responders, which includes National Guard personnel, utility personnel, first aid responders and more. Our group provides power and temperature control to those camps. Kevin’s group provides light towers and forklifts so they can set up those camps in a matter of hours rather than days. This provides the National Guard and other first responders a place to sleep and a place to eat so they can do the cleanup work.”
United staff reserved hotel rooms ahead of time for extra personnel to come in from other branches around the country. It also prepared for the inevitable fuel shortages so the company could not only fuel its machines, but provide fuel for its service trucks and delivery vehicles as well as provide fuel for police and fire department vehicles.
Other important equipment included earthmoving machines, pumps, dehumidifiers and arrow message boards for traffic control.
United Rentals is based in Greenwich, Conn.