September 2, 2021
Before we became Caterpillar, our two founders responded to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake using steam-powered tractors to clear rubble and help people and businesses begin to recover. More than a century later, Caterpillar products and philanthropy continue to be at the center of helping communities rebuild after disasters. That tradition of helping when it’s needed most continues today. When disasters strike, the Caterpillar Foundation, as well as our employees, dealers and customers, respond in three critical ways:
Cat® equipment plays a critical role in disaster rescue and clean-up efforts. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, trained machine operators from Caterpillar and Cat dealers will often deploy to impacted areas to lend their expertise. During the bushfires that devastated Australia in early 2020, Cat dealers provided financial and product support, plus in-kind support of rental equipment and on-call field service for equipment used in response efforts. Both Caterpillar and dealers also provided various arrangements for Emergency Service employees.
When the Western U.S. faced its own destructive fires last summer, scores of independent Cat dozer operators showed up at the front lines to clear trees and brush to help prevent the fires’ further spread.
After the deadly explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, local Cat dealer Jallad was there to help. Approximately two hours after the event, the Jallad team had mobilized emergency power at the explosion site to assist in the rescue operation. The dealer worked with local agencies to provide machines and parts, including skid-steers, backhoe loaders and trucks to help clear away debris, while Jallad employees who volunteered to operate the equipment used hand-held shovels to help load trucks over many hours. The Jallad team also donated personal protective equipment, recruited community members to participate in cleanup efforts and helped nearby hospitals that rely on our generator sets to support their operations. Cat generator sets and equipment also played a key role in supporting the critical search-and-rescue mission. Jallad continues to support local agencies and customers in the efforts to rebuild homes and infrastructure.
Cat dealer Jallad employees provide support in Beirut, Lebanon.
“At Thompson, supporting our customers and our communities is what we’re all about. Whether it’s just another Monday morning, or it’s a Christmas morning emergency, we’re going to be there. You can count on us.” Greg Moore, Thompson Power Representative, A division of Thompson Machinery
San Francisco earthquake using steam-powered tractors were used to clear rubble and help people and businesses recover in San Francisco, California (1906).
Recovery efforts can happen faster using Cat mobile generators and equipment to supply power to critical facilities and help keep people safe. Caterpillar provides mission-critical power, coordinating among our manufacturing facilities and distribution centers and working with our dealers to ensure generators arrive where they’re needed in the aftermath of a disaster.
In August 2020, a severe windstorm known as a derecho raced across the Midwest, causing widespread destruction and leaving millions of people without power. The independent Cat dealer network quickly went to work, delivering 32MW of mobile generators from dealer locations across the region to the hardest-hit areas. Using an application for equipment exchanges, the Cat Rental Power network was able to effectively match available generator sets to critical customer needs, helping communities get power back on as quickly as possible.
On Christmas morning, a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Greg Moore, a representative with dealer Thompson Power, a division of Thompson Machinery, saw the news and immediately contacted the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to offer support. Thompson Power rapidly filled a rental order for five XQ2000 Cat generators. The team went to work and had the generators on site and running within hours. For weeks afterward, dealer technicians remained on site to fuel generators and provide continuous monitoring. Says Moore, “At Thompson, supporting our customers and our communities is what we’re all about. Whether it’s just another Monday morning, or it’s a Christmas morning emergency, we’re going to be there. You can count on us.”
During challenging times, Caterpillar helps our customers stay afloat with flexible payment options through the Cat Financial Customer Care Program. We also help build resilience in communities through the Caterpillar Foundation’s investment in the American Red Cross (ARC) Annual Disaster Giving Program. This annual investment model ensures the ARC has the funding they need to prepare for disasters and is ready to respond immediately, saving valuable time after a disaster occurs.
The ARC routinely partners with Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in other parts of the world. In 2020, the Caterpillar Foundation’s support allowed the ARC to respond to crises including fires in Australia, the explosion in Lebanon and widespread flooding in Sudan. In addition to supporting relief efforts through our partnership with ARC, the Foundation made a $250,000 donation to the Australian Red Cross. Throughout 2020, the ARC responded to 286 large-scale disasters in the U.S. and 18 major crises around the world.
In 2020, the Foundation invested more than $12.9 million in support of global disaster relief, including the COVID-19 pandemic.