United Rentals last week set up a 24-hour emergency response center dedicated to deploying resources in the regions devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Telephone calls to United Rentals branches in the affected areas are automatically rerouted to the center, which also accepts direct, toll-free calls.
The bilingual emergency response team, based at United’s Shelton, Conn., customer service facility “was fully activated within 24 hours of the hurricane’s first hit in the Gulf Region,” said Ernie Delle Donne, vice president of national accounts and government sales for United. “Right now our priority is to respond to every need as completely and rapidly as possible. Our branch teams are working around the clock to fulfill requests from FEMA, municipal, state and federal response crews, utilities and private citizens. Locations that were in and near Katrina’s path, but were spared a direct hit, are sending equipment, supplies, and manpower to the branches most affected.”
United last week also said it will contribute up to $100,000 in financial support to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Fund. The pledge will consist of an initial corporate donation of $25,000 and the company’s dollar-for-dollar match of employee contributions up to an additional $75,000.
“The Red Cross has emphasized that funds are desperately needed for basic food, water, clothing and shelter in the wake of the hurricane’s devastation,” said CEO Wayland Hicks. “We feel that this pledge is the best way for us to help make a difference on both a corporate and individual level.”
United is also encouraging customers to contribute to the Red Cross fund by accepting customer contributions at its more than 760 rental locations throughout North America.
Based in Greenwich, Conn., United Rentals is the largest rental company in North America.