How does your organization prepare for hurricane season?
It’s almost hurricane season in the US and many communities, businesses, and property owners are starting to prepare.
Knowing your surroundings and talking to the local emergency management agency to find out the hurricane risks can be a good place to start your planning. Are you close to a flood zone or area that is exposed to a specific wind direction that may impact your office or other facilities? Analyzing historical storms can also provide you with some invaluable data.
Make a plan!
Ready.Gov provides information regarding how you should prepare for a hurricane including general information on what to do 36, 18 and 6 hours before a hurricane hits. This information is good for your family.
There’s more information for businesses in Ready.Gov just follow this link to see about planning.
Check to see if your organization has a plan and don’t wait until the hurricane is 36 hours away before you start to make your plan. It might be too late. A simple plan that is drilled or exercised on a regular basis may save lives and secure business assets. Lessons from Superstorm Sandy show us that we truly need to understand our insurance coverage to ensure we are not disappointed after the event.
Some sectors are regulated. Chemical, oil and gas, as well as some other industrial sites that are located in hurricane regions should have a plan that is tested through a tabletop exercise or even a physical drill.
Here are 10 items to consider when you conduct you hurricane drill:
- Consider doing a tabletop exercise combined with an actual physical drill (start with exercise objectives)
- Validate the communication protocols (how, when, who)
- Where do we get the information? (trusted resources but never forget social media)
- Does your business need materials, equipment or other logistical requirements? Have injects in your exercise that challenge these needs
- How do you shut down a facility or other asset or do you need to maintain a minimum amount of staff onsite due to the nature of your business?
- Validate evacuation procedures, locations and routes
- What do you do during the hurricane? Have you been trained? Are your staff prepared?
- Consider what your employees will do? They will want to be with family members that have been impacted. Consider manning problems after the storm as you will want to be operational as soon as possible. Do you have a Business Continuity Plan?
- Assessing your operations (facilities / buildings) for damage will be essential after the hurricane has past.
- Although this is a serious exercise, try and have some fun and make it engaging for the participants. They will take more lessons away if they’re engaged.
About Rob Burton
Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.