Rental industry aids hurricane recovery

31 August 2017

Equipment rental companies and related industry businesses are mobilizing across the United States to assist hurricane-ravaged Houston in any way they can.

United Rentals, Inc. has pledged a $200,000 donation to the American Red Cross to assist with disaster relief. Matt Flannery, chief operating officer for United told ALH the company has been in constant contact with its operations in the areas affected by Harvey and United has set up a command center in San Antonio.”

Our people there are assessing the situation hourly,” Flannery said. ”We’re also working with state and local officials in Texas and Louisiana to see how we can help with the cleanup efforts.

”All of our employees are accounted for, although some have been displaced by the flooding. Our first priority is the safety of our people, and then of course we want to resume operations as soon as possible to assist our customers and communities. We have a trench safety and pump branch open in Houston as of today, and are working toward opening our general rentals branches. 

In addition to the corporate donation to the Red Cross, the company has made a $50,000 donation to the United Compassion Fund. The Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, primarily funded by United employees that allocates grants to fellow employees in times of financial need.

”The Fund’s board has already approved over $100,000 in Harvey-related grants, and this week voted to make Neff Rental employees eligible for assistance as well,” Flannery said. ”We expect them to be part of our United Rentals family soon.”

Michael Kneeland, chief executive officer of United Rentals, added, “Our hearts go out to the countless people in Texas and Louisiana who suffered personal harm, property damage and displacement, and to the families of the victims who lost their lives. These hard-hit communities are our communities as well, and we stand ready to help in every way that we can.”

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The American Rental Association (ARA) Foundation has activated its Disaster Recovery Program, which was created to help rental businesses affected by natural disasters. The program can assist via a simple phone call or in-person, on-site help from rental operators. Those who qualify for the program also can access monetary assistance from the Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Assistance Grant Program and completing the application.

“ARA has been reaching out to members affected by Hurricane Harvey and we will continue to monitor the situation as relief and recovery efforts begin,” Tony Conant, ARA CEO told ALH. “From what we understand, much of Houston and surrounding areas remain at a standstill and it will take time to evaluate the needs of our members, their employees and communities. The ARA Foundation plans to announce details today on a recovery assistance program and how interested industry members can donate.”

The relief fund to be used to support impacted rental store owners and their employees. For those interested, the ARA Foundation and ARA will send details to ARA members on how to donate via a special email today, August 31.

To aid in the recovery efforts, Sunstate Equipment is sending mechanics and drivers from other parts of Texas, as well as other parts of the country to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts.

”We are dispatching additional field service trucks from unaffected areas in Texas to assist with equipment recovery in the field, as well as shipping all surplus pumps, generators and other needed equipment from across the company to the Houston area,” said Chris Watts, Sunstate’s CEO. ”We have ordered basic hand tools and clean-up supplies to be stocked at each branch, and will be offering all basic clean up equipment like shovels, brooms, gloves and safety glasses at our cost. Short term rentals of equipment for relief efforts will be offered at a discounted rate to all customers as well.”

BlueLine Rental, which is headquartered in The Woodlands, TX – an area battered by the storm – was assembling its fleet to support clean-up and restoration efforts in the impacted areas.

“Count on us to assist you with rebuilding efforts in the days and weeks ahead,” the company said.

BlueLine also launched an employee relief fund, which as of August 31 had met $45,215 of its $50,000 goal.

“Any contribution, small or large, will be appreciated by our teammates in the Gulf Coast and BlueLine as a company will match every contribution dollar-for-dollar,” the company said. “You can be assured that every dollar we raise will go directly to one of our employees in need.”

To donate, visit

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has donated $5,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

“This catastrophic event has impacted hundreds of thousands of people and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “We felt compelled to support the humanitarian effort alongside our members who are providing equipment like generators and utility and construction equipment that will help to restore the area back to its quality of life.”

AEM-owned trade show, ICUEE – the Demo Expo has set up a link to make it easy for attendees to donate to the Houston Red Cross on its registration page. People can visit to donate.

“The people of the utility industry understand the challenge of restoring the power after a catastrophe. These unsung heroes have always demonstrated their willingness to help those in need through the work they do in recovery efforts,” said Slater. “The direct donation link is an additional way the industry can help their colleagues in Houston.”

At least 38 people have died so far in the state of Texas and survivors are facing a number of obstacles, including the difficulty of distributing aid. Tens of thousands of people have filled shelters, and for many, memories of Hurricane Katrina were evoked. To donate to Red Cross, visit

ALH will update this story as reports come in.

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