NEW ORLEANS—In the wake of Hurricane Ida, more than half the gas station in Baton Rouge and New Orleans are reportedly without fuel, while hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents try to cope without electricity, the Washington Post reports. Some stations ran out of fuel, while others couldn’t dispense fuel due to a lack of power. The Category 4 hurricane hit the area Sunday.
Utilities said residents and businesses could be without power for as long as three weeks.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Ida took out 94% of the offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and shut down seven Louisiana oil refineries, which might take weeks to restart. The Colonial Pipeline, which took part of its pipelines offline during the storm, is back to full operations.
While the Energy Department doesn’t anticipate fuel shortages to expand beyond the region hit by the hurricane, the lack of fuel has triggered long gas lines and frayed tempers among the residents. At stations with fuel, police officers are showing up to keep the peace as people fill up cars and gas cans to run generators.
Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Obama Administration, shared in NACS Magazine that the pandemic has added another layer to emergency preparation: “Especially in this time of COVID-19, retailers are pressed for time, but not preparing for a hurricane or other natural disaster will put them at a distinct disadvantage and will hamper their ability to re-open quickly.” Fugate headlined a NACS webinar last year on how to plan and prepare for emergencies and how to use the NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aids.
The resource is designed to help convenience retailers quickly and efficiently determine the best course of action for their teams to plan for an emergency and resume operations quickly and safely.
For more emergency planning resources, NACS Magazine articles and Convenience Matters podcast episodes, visit the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness page.
Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8 at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on preparing for natural disasters and supporting your community, including these sessions developed by retailers for retailers: