Crisis Management: What Happens when the Lights Go Out

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If there is one thing we know for sure in the transportation industry, it is that Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Crisis Management: What Happens when the Lights Go Out, Unpredictable winters or sudden rainstorms can stop us in our tracks and force us to come up with a back-up plan at a moment’s notice. At the end of February, we were put to the test.

The deep freeze that took hold in the Toronto area proved to be too much to bare for many of the city’s water mains. The National Post reported that 48 water mains burst, and unfortunately for us, we were right at the heart of the action. The excitement began on Wednesday, February 25th when a water main burst at sidewalk level, outside our location at 505 Consumers Road. A nearby transformer unit, buried below the ground, was immediately flooded, and as a result, we lost power and were forced to evacuate along with all the other tenants of the building.

Crisis Management: What Happens when the Lights Go Out

After a day went by with no water or power, our team knew we had to act quickly. The transportation business keeps going, rain or shine. Getting payment out to the carriers on schedule couldn’t be delayed, so we had to resort to manual processes.

It was clear at this point that the transformer problem was a major one, and we made arrangements to set up a temporary office at the Radisson hotel nearby. All necessary equipment and documents were transferred from our Consumers Road location with the help of some flashlights and plenty of heavy lifting.

 

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By Wednesday March 4th, one entire week after the disaster began, we were informed that the transformer had been replaced and business as usual could resume at our office. We dismantled our temporary set up and eagerly anticipated everything returning to normal the next day. Unfortunately, the new transformers blew at 2pm on Thursday and we had to return back to the Radisson. Even the new back-up generator installed at our location wasn’t sufficient to provide adequate power to run our office and keep the temperature at a comfortable level for our staff. Several days later, the generator completely failed, and our staff working on site were forced to evacuate yet again.

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By March 11th, 14 long and frustrating days after it all began, DTA’s operations returned to normal. The second set of new transformers installed by Toronto Hydro were finally working properly, and our team was grateful to be back at home base.

Crisis Management: What Happens when the Lights Go Out

As unusual as this chain of events was, it was an important reminder that no matter how streamlined your business is, you need to have the ability to act quickly when disaster strikes. At DTA, our business is built on dependability, reliability and efficiency, and even when the lights go out, the show must go on. We are proud of our team – the staff and our computer software and hardware suppliers – for working hard to overcome each obstacle that we faced over the last few weeks, and now that spring has arrived, we couldn’t be happier to put this particularly difficult winter behind us.

MGracey

 

 

 

Melissa Gracey, President and CEO

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