Good Planning Pays off for Wal-Mart

I like stories like this that show planning, preparation and hard work paying off. A Wall Street Journal article (linked here in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) writes about the disaster response team that got Wal-Marts reopened across the Gulf Coast after they were hit by Katrina.

Wal-Mart’s speed in responding to Katrina underscores the extent to which it and other big-box retailers like Home Depot Inc. have become key players in responding to natural disasters. Whereas FEMA has to scramble for resources, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart has it owns trucks, distribution centers and dozens of stores in most areas of the country. It also has a specific protocol for responding to disasters, and it can activate an emergency command center to coordinate an immediate response

Sheriff Bob Buckley of Union Parish, La., has nothing but praise for Wal-Mart’s role. About 600 law-enforcement officers from around the state gathered in Gonzalez to start rescue operations, he says, but they had no supplies. They called Wal-Mart the day after the hurricane hit and two days later, they got two truckloads of flashlights, batteries, meals ready to eat, protective gear and ammunition.
And when did FEMA arrive? “Who?” Sheriff Buckley asks.