Kitting solutions, which include custom packaging and special-use items, are fast becoming the key to better storm response. But what’s in a kit is really only limited to one’s imagination says Chris Bollinger, Manager of Alliance Development, Central Region, at Anixter. What’s not up in the air is their usefulness for faster emergency response and so much more.
The kitting trend
Kitting solutions are not limited to emergency use only. These custom packaging solutions are being used more and more in facilities and out in the field every single day - reducing mismanagement of materials, saving labor and storage costs, and minimizing the risk of theft or damage.
“To determine the contents answer two basic questions,” Bollinger says. “What are the standards that we need to meet? And what do we want to accomplish?” Given that framework, contents within emergency response kits are usually selected based on three factors: safety, speed and consistency.
Safety: Assembling parts out in the field may be easy on fair-weather days, but during significant weather events, it can be a safety concern. It’s critically important to reduce crews’ exposure to elements like precipitation, extreme temperatures, wind and lighting as much as possible. Emergency response kitting can help by including preassembled parts as well as emergency supplies like flashlights and extra safety gear in order to reduce risk as much as possible.
Speed: In an emergency response situation, cutting corners isn’t an option. Increasing efficiencies is. Precious time out in the field or at the laydown yard can be saved by having preassembled parts on hand. Even the sales process can be simplified during these high-volume times by ordering predetermined kits instead of cherry-picking supplies individually.
Consistency: During large weather events, extra crews from contracting companies or utilities from outside the region may be called in to help. Oftentimes, these crews do not have the same equipment, training or processes in place. Emergency response kits can include essential tools that these crews may not already have. They can also include certain parts that are preassembled in order to reduce mistakes and inconsistencies. The customization doesn’t need to end there. “Consider what will make crews most comfortable and confident,” Bollinger recommends. “That might include things like mobile charging stations with plenty of outlets so that crews can stay in touch with loved ones.”
All “kitting” aside
Remember the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind?” This can unfortunately be true for emergency response kits, which leads to Bollinger’s final point: Don’t forget to refresh.
“If a customer hasn’t been through a major storm in some time—say, an ice storm hasn’t hit the area in five years— materials within the emergency response kits may be out of date,” he warns. “It’s important to refresh and review supplies annually as part of regular emergency and storm prep activities.”
Emergency response kits can be packaged and stored in virtual warehouse environments, which not only helps save on space and overage costs but ensures supplies are up to date as well. Additional supplies can be ordered on demand and even delivered via quick-response trailers or storm pods (which look like shipping containers) that can be set up wherever they are needed.
Storms may blow in quickly, but solutions like emergency response kits can help keep everyone on track.