Bernhard’s Asset Management Team Successfully Navigates Multiple Extreme Weather Events in 2024


New Orleans faced unprecedented weather challenges with a hard freeze, causing freezing temperatures that the Gulf South rarely experienced in January 2024. The extreme weather tested the resilience of facilities and residents in the region. The intense temperature also caused a critical water main to break in Jefferson Parish, which sits just outside of New Orleans. The water main rupture devastated the area, rendering water unsafe for more than 250,000 residents and surrounding businesses. Bernhard, renowned for its expertise in comprehensive energy asset management, played a crucial role in responding to the hard freeze and later, the broken water pipe in Jefferson Parish.

These two separate events showcased Bernhard’s versatility in Disaster Response services.

Bernhard’s Asset Management services focus on the operation and management of energy assets. The in-house team of experts collaboratively delivers services such as operations and maintenance, emergency and disaster response, and capital planning.

Bernhard’s approach emphasizes flexibility, scalability, and long-term sustainability in managing energy assets through the lifecycle of projects.

Maintaining Facility Operations in the Freeze

During the hard freeze, Bernhard’s Asset Management team executed a well-defined Freeze Protection Plan. The proactive measures undertaken by the teams at multiple customer locations throughout the region demonstrated a commitment to safeguarding clients and facilities with world-class disaster response:

  1. Pre-Freeze Preparation (72 – 48 hours prior):
    • Teams coordinated staffing levels with facilities leadership.
    • Reviewed the Freeze Protection Plan across all sites.
    • Took inventory of pipe insulation materials and ordered necessary supplies.
  2. Implementation of Freeze Protection Plan (12 – 48 hours prior):
    • Actuated dampers manually and ensured responsiveness.
    • Dripped hose bibs to prevent freezing.
    • Inspected and secured Central Plant roofs.
    • Opened bypass valves on cooling towers and adjusted pre-heat coil settings.
    • Assisted in draining wet-pipe sprinkler systems.
    • Conducted scheduled inspections during freezing conditions.
    • Documented changes in the engineer’s logbook.
  3. Post-Freeze Actions:
    • Performed visual inspection on major equipment.
    • Closed hose-bib valves and released operator overrides.
    • Winterized cooling towers, added protective covers to piping, and raised heating water settings.
    • Conducted constant rounds to maintain water flow and checked pump operations.

During the inclement winter weather and freezing temperatures, no Bernhard assets or units suffered critical harm. The cold weather and freeze event was a national effort by Bernhard’s asset management team across all sites.

When it Rains it Pours

In the wake of a critical water main break in Jefferson Parish, Bernhard’s experts displayed swift and effective coordination:

  1. Water Delivery Coordination:
    • Coordinated with Macro Companies for suitable staging areas for water delivery tanker trucks.
    • Utilized 6,500-gallon water delivery tanker trucks for approximately 12 hours of continuous service.
  2. Immediate Response:
    • Delivered cases of water and ice to all nurses’ stations.
    • Notified personnel and patients of the boil water advisory.
    • Turned off ice machines.
  3. Logistical Support:
    • Delivered 10 potable water trucks within hours.
    • Provided a utility truck with flex pipes and a pump for water distribution.
    • Ensured a readily available service team for water truck hookup.
  4. Efficient Operations:
    • Swapped water trucks within 10 minutes of depletion to maintain a constant water supply.
    • Flushed toilets after every swap to remove air from the water lines.

A Trusted Partner to Navigate Your Facility Through Disasters

Bernhard’s Asset Management team showcased their resilience and adaptability in responding to two unique disaster scenarios for their customers. The proactive measures, adherence to standard operating procedures, and effective collaboration with external partners ensured the protection of clients and facilities. The successful navigation of these events reinforces Bernhard’s commitment to providing long-term solutions, disaster response, and comprehensive asset management services.