Facing the storm - when disaster strikes, EnerSys springs into action

When a major storm or natural disaster strikes, telecommunications play a critical role in the ability to contact responders, access important news updates, stay in touch with loved ones and much more. That’s why when Hurricane Ian made landfall in September 2022, EnerSys® was ready to spring into action to help keep phone lines and communication access points up and running.

One of our customers, a large telecommunications company, trusts EnerSys technology to power and run these communications sites rain or shine. When reports showed Hurricane Ian heading towards the Florida Gulf, David Justice, the Regional Senior Services Manager of Critical Facilities, knew what he had to do.

David’s team tracked the potential impact points of the storm several days in advance and sent detailed reports to the customer every four hours. The communication included storm trajectory, estimated effect on operations, and everything EnerSys was doing to help prepare for and minimize interruptions.

“When we saw that Ian was coming in as a Category 4, we knew what to do, but knew we had to do it fast,” said David. “This isn’t new to us, we deal with all sorts of natural disasters and are always prepared to help our customers keep citizens connected and safe.”

David’s team prepped backup equipment, multiple generators, and the necessary provisions to support a team in Tampa, safely. “We had a Tiger Team of 23 EnerSys professionals we brought to the Tampa area from Georgia to keep everything up and running,” said David. “Generator technicians, fuelers, electricians and more. You name it – we had someone who can do it.”

In an area that was out of power and dealing with major flooding for 3-4 days, David’s team kept over 30 key communication sites up and running, which allowed critical communications – like phone lines and 911 dispatch – to continue running throughout the storm.

But this task is no easy feat. Each site requires hands-on monitoring, maintenance and regular fueling, which can be difficult to coordinate in the middle of a Category 4 hurricane. In total for Hurricane Ian, EnerSys made over 200 visits to sites to keep them up and running. They also rounded up 8 portable generators to bring them to Florida to help support recovery effors.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s something that we’re prepared to do each and every time,” said Tom Sautto, Director of Inside Plant-Preventative Maintenance Services, Critical Facilities at EnerSys. “We’re committed to supporting our customers and communities in any crisis.” EnerSys also helps deploy disaster trailers and food provisions so families can get access to electricity, clean water, and food in a central location powered by EnerSys technology and logistics. “When we get these trailers up and running, we can provide 200-300 families a day with water and care,” says Tom. “Anything we can do to help, we’re doing it.”

Even though the storm has passed, David’s Tiger Team is still working around the clock until the Tampa area is brought back to normalcy. They’re also working to help support recovery efforts by helping charter boats for technicians to assess damage in hard-hit areas like Sanibel Island.

“It’s a privilege that our products and team are trusted by customers and communities to keep people safe in the most dangerous of situations,” said David. “I’m proud of our team and the work that we do around the clock to build resilience in communities when they need it most.”

Hurricane Ian Wiki.jpg

Flooded roads in Florida after Hurricane Ian hit in September 2022. This image or file is a work of a United States Department of Homeland Security employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.