Canadian Rental Service

Editorial: Towing profits

Patrick Flannery   

Features Business Intelligence disaster opinion transportation

We’re launching a series of articles about specialty trailers.

I happen to live in a part of the country that gets a lot of tornados. Here in southwestern Ontario, the sun beats down on the Great Lakes all day long in the summer, which has a similar effect to heating a bowl of water. Picture the steam rising from the surface of hot water and you understand what happens – air rushes upwards, loaded with water, occassionaly twisting into little streamers and vortexes. When those hot clouds move over the land (which happens fairly quickly as the lakes are not as big as an ocean), they cool quickly and drop their water in a thunderstorm. This usually happens a couple times per week around here. When more than one thunderstorm happens at a time and the two cells meet, the two air masses try to push past one another. That can cause them to rotate, generating tornados. Because we have lakes on three sides generating thunderstorms, this condition is more common here than in a lot of other parts of the world. 

So when Point of Rental sent a press release around talking about a disaster relief trailer that was being used to help with tornado damage in the U.S., I perked up. The trailer in question was created by big-box hardware retailer, Lowes, with support from Point of Rental and a number of other familiar rental equipment brands. It’s pretty impressive – a full tractor trailer box customized with a side door and flip-up window, full of generators, pumps, fans, dehumidifiers and other sundries that a disaster relief crew would need.

This looked like a pretty cool idea. And it got me thinking about various other kinds of disasters and what a trailer full of equipment to address them might look like. Which made me think about other kinds of specialty trailers made for purposes other than disaster relief. I remembered Adam Snook’s oilfield trailers back when he was running First Choice Equipment Rentals in Wetaskiwan, Alta. It quickly became clear that there was a lot to talk about here.

All of which is a long way of telling you that in this issue you’ll see the first article in our Specialty Trailers series. Each issue, we’ll focus on another niche that might benefit from your rental store having a specialty trailer loaded up and ready to go. This issue’s article, as you may have guessed from the above, is on tornado trailers. Special thanks to Jim Mandeville, a disaster relief expert from First Onsite Property Restoration, for his help and advice.


So far, I’ve ordered articles on specialty trailers for flood relief, oilfield and mining support. It’s not hard to think of more: earthquakes, forestry, factory shutdowns, marine. Do any others spring to mind for you? Or have you maybe created a specialty trailer or two of your own? Drop me a line!  

I heard about some other reasons for looking at specialty trailers, especially disaster relief trailers, at a recent building science conference focused on energy-efficient home construction. It’s pretty much a matter of consensus that climate change is causing more frequent extreme weather events, as well as weather patterns that fall outside of the norms our houses and commercial buildings are designed for. Municipal drainage systems, for instance, are designed to handle “100-year storms.” But what happens when you get one of these storms every five or 10 years? Answer: increased flooding and erosion that damages property. Be ready.    

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