Pandemic’s Impact on FEMA Relief After Hurricane Ida 2021
Pandemic’s Impact on FEMA Relief After Hurricane Ida
Every year, carriers jump at the chance to haul FEMA loads for two reasons:
- To be a part of the solution and help those in need.
- FEMA loads are cash cows, sometimes paying up to $5 per mile and $2,000 per day detention.
The question remains: Will Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have its pick of freight haulers this year?
There is some uncertainty surrounding the capacity and willingness to accept FEMA loads this year. The truck driver shortage has allowed carriers to increase rates and shippers have no choice but to comply. In previous years, carriers easily reassigned drivers to government loads. Now that standard rates are competitive; they may be less willing to abandon their commitments to shippers.
“Catastrophic risks are the primary drivers of the Nation’s response and recovery capability requirements because these risks will stress local, state, tribal, territorial, supply, and national resources.”
What Truckers Should Expect
Expect to run hard.
In the past, FEMA loads have been of the “drop everything” sort. If your carrier is chosen and accepts these relief loads, you may find your plans changing by the minute. Keep communication lines open at all times and be prepared to reroute at a moment’s notice. You can stay up to date with FEMA alerts and updates here.
Expect to sit.
You will be faced with delays and under-communication. FEMA deliveries are not like other deliveries. Yes, they pay well, and you are helping those highly in need. When you deliver, you may find yourself in a line of hundreds or thousands of other tractors waiting to be offloaded. Be patient and remember those who’ve lost their houses, possessions, or loved ones to the storm. They need food, they need water, and they need smiling faces of the truckers who bring it to them.
Bring your own food.
If you’ve never hauled FEMA loads before, it may be difficult to imagine the confusion and lack of communication that exists when delivering emergency supplies. When you arrive, you do not get offloaded for several days. Before getting to the relief site, make sure to load up on food, snacks, and water. You won’t be able to get out of line to get food.
Be patient and remember those who’ve lost their houses, possessions, or loved ones to the storm. They need food, they need water, and they need smiling faces of the truckers who bring it to them.
Check all highways, traffic alerts, and flood zones in the areas where you are and where you are going. The routes given by your GPS may be underwater. Always have an alternate route in mind and stay in communication with your dispatcher at all times.
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Feel free to check out our other related Hurricane Ida content.