Our Experience

Hurricane Matthew Preparation and Recovery

GEL's facility successfully withstands weather from Hurricane Matthew with no significant disruption to operations.

The Client

All clients

The Challenge

Charleston was hit by a powerful hurricane on Saturday October 8, 2016.  On the Wednesday before the storm arrived, SC Governor Nikki Haley ordered an evacuation of the Charleston area.  Due to this evacuation request, GEL had to close our business on Thursday and Friday and enact our Disaster Preparation and Recovery Plan.

GEL Labs Services Provided

By close of business on Wednesday before employees left for the evening, we completed our Disaster Preparation checklist, which includes, but is not limited to activities such as: 

• Complete testing for all samples logged in LIMS with regulatory hold time requirements and quick turnaround requests from clients
• Relocate all samples to approved secure storage locations including emergency generator supported temperature controlled storage areas
• Secure all acids and solvents in proper locations
• Back up all files and prepare servers to be taken offline at the appropriate time for safe shutdown
• Orderly shutdown of laboratory operations and protective covering for all instrumentation, computers, etc.
• Preparation for planned shutdown of power to facility
• Notification to clients of our status

Throughout the days that we were officially closed for business (Thursday – Sunday) various employees were at our facility checking for any potential impact from the rain and wind and ensuring that the facility was secure.  There was not a single day during the shutdown event that GEL was not covered by staff.

We are fortunate that GEL is in a great location in regard to any flooding issues and we are also located in close proximity to a main power substation therefore minimizing any downtime from loss of power.   Although some areas around Charleston were without power for four to five days following the storm, GEL had power available to our facility later that afternoon after the storm passed through Charleston.

The Result

Fortunately, GEL came through a very serious Category 1 hurricane with no significant disruption to operations.  We were prepared and open for business as usual the Monday following the weekend encounter with the hurricane.  Overall, although we do not like the threat of a hurricane and never like to have to close our operations, the event we just went through proves the effectiveness of our planning and preparation efforts.  As with any situation, we found some things we can do to further enhance our preparation efforts during these types of weather situations, and we are investigating these now to incorporate them into our Disaster Preparation and Recovery Plan.

We are thankful for the dedication of our employees and to the loyalty of our clients.  GEL remains committed to our clients worldwide and we are ready to serve you!