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Hurricane Preparedness and Contingency Planning: 5 Tips Every Business Should Know

2 August 2021       Bookmark and Share

The NOAA, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is anticipating another active Atlantic hurricane season in 2021. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, and the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th. According to their Climate Prediction Center, "forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season".

As the hurricane season begins, it is essential that your team knows what to do during a hurricane. Hurricane contingency plans and hurricane preparedness are essential for businesses small and large that can be adversely affected by a major storm. The main goal, as you plan for a hurricane, is to ensure your business operations can continue if or when a hurricane hits the area. A good hurricane plan is one that is easy to follow and understand for the entire organization.

Although planning can be time consuming and overwhelming at times, we have broken down five tips to help simplify the process and to get you started.

  1. Create your contingency plan if you have not already done so. Identify all critical components and applications that keep your business operating. This includes data and cloud storage, all of your PCs and networks, data backups, and roles of key staff members will play (see Ready.gov's Hurricane Toolkit for more info and how to prepare for a hurricane evacuation). In addition, it is important to have trusted vendors, such as temporary power and cooling suppliers, researched and ready for any operational assistance that will be required.
  2. Practice your hurricane contingency plan with your staff. Hurricane preparedness for businesses should be an ongoing conversation. Don't wait until a hurricane is approaching to refresh yourself and your organization on the plan in place. Consistent training, drills, and even mock disasters can help ensure your plan is executed if ever needed.
  3. Backup your data and ensure it is accessible via the cloud or a safe facility. Verify that the backup data is easily recoverable when needed.
  4. Protect your hardware and facility by having proper measures in place that will allow your equipment to operate as required. This includes boarding up windows, using sandbags to minimize water damage, and having generators or battery power supply available. Unexpected power disruption to electrical equipment, such as computers and data centers, can not only cause business disruption and data loss, but can also lead to serious injuries.
  5. Review and adjust your plan on a regular basis. As business operations and staffing is constantly changing, it is imperative that your hurricane contingency plan is frequently reviewed and updated. New staff will need to be informed of their roles and responsibilities, procedures may need to be adjusted, and changes to vendors and facilities may require necessary modifications.

Now that you have some direction on your contingency planning, let's quickly review the hurricane categories. As you may be aware, hurricanes are categorized on a scale with a rating of 1 to 5. In short, the numbers represent the hurricane's maximum sustained wind speed, with a category 1 topping out at 95 mph and a category 5 reaching 157 mph and higher. Additionally, these categories give a good indication of potential property damage that may occur. However, the scale is focused solely on those wind speeds and does not take into account flooding, tornadoes, or storm surges that are a result of many hurricanes. Regardless of the category, when a hurricane evacuation order is given, it must be taken very seriously, and you should follow the recommended orders.

Mobile Air & Power Rentals, with locations in hurricane prone areas nationwide, helps businesses prepare and respond to hurricane disasters. Whether you are proactively creating your hurricane contingency plan or immediately require a disaster response, we are ready to assist. Contact us today or call 888-305-3038, 24/7, to discuss your hurricane contingency planning needs.

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