INFOGRAPHIC: Prepping for the 2018 Hurricane Season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its predictions for the 2018 Hurricane season. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts this season will be near or above normal.
Reflecting on a very active and costly 2017 season, we must take precautions to mitigate damages that may be sustained during this years’ season.
Per the NOAA, three of the top five costliest hurricanes in U.S. history struck in 2017, accumulating more than $260 billion.
- Hurricane Irma – $50 billion
- Hurricane Maria – $90 billion
- Hurricane Harvey – $125 billion
The cumulative cost of 16 separate billion-dollar weather events in the U.S. last year was $306.2 billion.
How can your organization prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season?
First, identify your organization’s risk. Ask these questions:
- What are the dangers from storm surge flooding?
- What steps can be taken to mitigate damage to facilities and equipment?
- Where would you go if you were forced to evacuate?
- Does everyone know the plan and his/her role for implementing the plan?
Create a Plan
Prior to a natural disaster, create an emergency plan and train employees. All employees must know the organization’s disaster plan. Establish a physical and virtual copy of the plan to create easy access; employees should have quick access to the plan at all times.
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey alone destroyed more than 200,000 homes and businesses. Before a disaster, establish an alternate workplace and consider the size of your business, location, and other operational needs. If an alternate workplace cannot be established, determine if employees can work remotely (from home). If remote working is feasible, have a secure work-from-home strategy planned, implemented, and tested.
Your organization must have a detailed communication plan to ensure you are able to stay in touch with employees, officials, customers, vendors, suppliers, and members of the community. Handling communications and data appropriately is vital before, during, and after a disaster. Back up data to the cloud and routinely back up files to an off-site location.
Hurricanes are not only a coastal problem, but can impact hundreds of miles inland. Disasters can affect suppliers and other businesses not directly impacted by the storm, causing a disruption and potentially a domino effect along the supply chain. Prior to a disaster, review options to postpone unnecessary incoming shipments, or accelerate outgoing shipments. Consider all travel disruptions, including canceled flights, potential change fees for rerouted flights, and when necessary, delay checking out of hotels prior to travel verification.
Tests Your Plan
An emergency plan must be actionable. The only way to determine if a plan is actionable is by testing and training. Training converts written plans into actionable ones, and by testing plans and their procedures, the problems or weaknesses identified will stimulate appropriate changes. In a Firestorm webinar, 70 percent of the attendees indicated they did not know what to do during a disaster or crisis. Failure to conduct exercises and test plans is one of the most common failures in a disaster or crisis. Do not let disaster denial and unpracticed plans prevent your organization from being prepared this hurricane season.