Blog Posts Heading into Hurricane Season: A Conversation with ALAN
Tropical Storm Alex kicked off the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season last week. This season is expected to be especially active with six to 10 hurricanes predicted. Whether you’re in the storm’s path, supporting customers who are, or just interested in helping with relief efforts, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) can be a good resource.
The ALAN team knows a few things about hurricanes. Formed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, the non-profit organization has been working to provide supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations and other non-profits ever since.
We recently sat down with Kathy Fulton, ALAN’s Executive Director and a Saddle Creek alum, to learn more about the organization and its relief efforts.
First off, tell us a little bit about ALAN.
ALAN is a humanitarian organization that specializes in connecting relief organizations and other non-profits with the donated logistics space, services and equipment they need. That way, help and hope can reach disaster survivors and other people in need sooner – and non-profits can make their funding go further.
Does ALAN just provide support for hurricanes?
No. Even though ALAN is most closely associated with hurricanes, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the disasters we deal with. For example, since last hurricane season, we’ve spent considerable time fielding requests to support relief efforts for the December tornadoes in Kentucky, the attacks on Ukraine and the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. We’ve also supported the year-round efforts of food banks, animal shelters and groups that serve impoverished communities. The way we see it, these causes need contributed logistics assistance too, and we just happen to be part of a wonderfully generous industry that’s willing to help.
Is ALAN involved in any proactive efforts to minimize the impact of disastrous events?
Absolutely. We’re strong believers in providing businesses with better access to disaster visibility and relief resources, because knowledge is power.
One of the newest things we’ve done in this regard is to launch our Supply Chain Intelligence Center. It’s a free tool that helps companies get a real-time, dynamic view of disasters that are happening across the globe – and find out what the potential supply chain impacts are. That way, they can do a better job of anticipating and adjusting for these risks.
Another way we provide this visibility is via our Disaster Micro-site, where we share helpful links. While we’ll never claim to be health disaster experts (just like we’re not weather experts), we do feel called to put people in touch with the many organizations and experts that are.
Plus we frequently host or participate in disaster preparation webinars or take our Disaster Simulation Game to various industry events because, when it comes to disaster relief, we know that training isn’t just a nice to have. It’s an essential tool that can play a huge role in managing disaster damages while hastening the road to recovery.
ALAN’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center is a free tool that helps companies get a real-time, dynamic view of disasters that are happening across the globe – and find out what the potential supply chain impacts are.
How can companies help ALAN with its efforts?
There are myriad ways – and all of them are appreciated. These include:
- Visiting our Disaster Micro-Site (https://www.alanaid.org/operations/) to view the latest requests for equipment, space or services – and offering to help us fulfill one or more of them.
- Making a monetary donation. Any amount, large or small, plays a key role in funding our efforts and enables us to continue doing the good work that we do.
- Visiting our website to fill out a form (https://www.alanaid.org/offer-inkind-services-or-equipment/)and pre-volunteer your equipment, space or services. We find such pre-offers to be hugely helpful, and you never know when one of the offers you’re making will be just what is needed.
On a related note, one way we really wish people WOULDN’T try to help is by hosting a product collection drive or loading up a truck and self-deploying to a disaster site. Although the intention behind these drives is good, they often create more challenges than they solve, including adding more friction to a supply chain that is already under tremendous strain.
Forecasters are predicting an especially active hurricane season this year. What’s ALAN’s take on that?
Naturally, we hope that these dire predictions will wind up being wrong because that means more communities will avoid damage, destruction and heartache. Regardless, we’re going to continue our preparations so that, whatever the next crisis is, we’re ready to serve.Related to: Mitigating Risk