The Fort McMurray forest fires and subsequent evacuation of an entire city, is a great example of how corporations can use their resources to help. West Jet is one great example – sending in planes to evacuate residents to safety – all free of charge. They did this with no motivate for publicity, but rather because it was the right thing to do. Being a company based in Alberta, that provides transportation for many oil sands workers, their quick response to send in planes was just another way of helping their customers and the province that has played a key role in growing their business.
West Jet is well known for stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing. Whether it’s helping cancer patients get home when other airlines have deemed them too sick to travel or simply making sure a missing teddy bear is reunited with its owner, compassion is a key value of both the company and its employees.
While the Fort McMurray fire is devastating, the corporate response to help is commendable. Labatts shut down its beer line to fill cans with water for evacuees; Shell, Suncor and other oil companies opened up their work camps to provide food and shelter; restaurants in Edmonton provided free meals to customers fleeing from the north… The list goes on and on.
The main lesson here is while all of these stories have received extensive social media and news media coverage, the companies didn’t spend hours planning how to get coverage. Rather they looked at the resources they have and looked for ways to help where they could. It is this genuine humanity that resulted in the media coverage – and will be remembered by their customers.