Wal-Mart Provides Lessons on Disaster Relief
By George Anderson
After last year’s devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes, many said the government could learn some lessons from Wal-Mart on preparing for and responding to disasters.
The company brought in needed supplies, such as bottled water, and it offered services like free check cashing and an emergency contact registry to help victims try to find missing family and friends, according to Bloomberg News.
In addition to its direct on-the-ground efforts, Wal-Mart also donated $18 million to various groups to aid victims of the storms.
Even with its model response to past hurricanes, Wal-Mart is not content to rest on past laurels.
Jason Jackson, director of emergency management for Wal-Mart, said the company is increasing its training for associates on disaster response including its “Hurricane 101” class.
Mr. Jackson said the events of last year reinforced the need for preparedness. The retailer has set up nine distribution centers stocked with essentials to respond to natural disasters. Eight of the facilities are located in the Southeast.
Moderator’s Comment: What lessons can other retailers learn from Wal-Mart in preparing for and responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes? Do
you think that Wal-Mart’s response to last year’s hurricanes will have a lasting effect on how consumers in those areas view the retailer for years to come? –
George Anderson – Moderator