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How To Prepare Your Company For Hurricanes: Don't Get Blown Away

How To Prepare Your Company For Hurricanes: Don't Get Blown Away

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Extreme winds strong enough to rip roofs off of homes, torrential rains that flood cities and wave surges that break levees, hurricanes are among the most devastating forces on earth.

How prepared is your business for a hurricane?

With the destructive power equal to 10,000 nuclear bombs detonating at once, these storms can cause wide-ranging damage across thousands of miles.

Of the top 5 most costly disasters in U.S. history, hurricanes are the top 4.

So, as they pose one of the biggest threats to the nation, preparing for these storms needs to be a top priority for your business and your family.

Below we will cover how to prepare for hurricanes in regard to:

  • U.S. Hurricane Season
  • Vulnerable Locations
  • Critical Assets
  • Securing Sites

Remember, in emergencies, it is vital to prioritize saving everything by its necessity and its "save-ability". If you can't get to everything, make sure you get the important things without wasting the time on lost causes.

Preparations:

Hurricane Season

For the US, the Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1st and last until November 30th with a peak in August and September.

The Pacific Hurricane Season starts May 15th and continues until Nov. 30th with a similar peak time.

Colorado State University predicts 2018 to be an eventful year for hurricanes.

They forecast 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes (3 considered major) and all with a 63% chance to make landfall.

With the timing and likelihood of the storms established let's get into the location aspect.

Identify Vulnerable Locations

Unfortunately, not all locations are created equal.

In times of widespread damage, it may become necessary to triage (or classify in an emergency) locations based on their level of importance to the company.

Outlying offices or buildings that are not as critical to the home office may not take priority over the area where all of your products, equipment, and employees are.

Establish a clear plan for these areas. You could move goods out of certain locations anticipated to be affected.

For other buildings, you might have to simply “batten down the hatches” and stage resources so that you can respond quickly to expected events.

When considering locations that are most vulnerable, keep in mind that wind damage can cause destruction up to 100 miles inland, with flooding extending hundreds of miles before the storm dissipates.

Ensure that your hurricane response plan addresses at least all locations within 100 miles of the coast.

Establish Critical Assets

How you determine which assets are critical to secure is another major consideration that will need to be done during your preparations.

These are easy to identify for some companies and industries.

  • Sites such as refineries, water treatment plants, cell towers, etc. are designated critical infrastructure because they're basic human and emergency response needs. Identify what your business offers that it needs for survival.
  • If your company is directly responsible for relief efforts, locations requiring security against would-be-criminals will include staging areas or fuel depots.
  • For home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes, getting their stores back open is critical for both relief efforts and revenue.
  • For grocers, getting food back to a community can literally mean the difference between life and death.

But you have to weigh the options. How much money will it cost to clear one location and not another? How much time it takes is critical to your response efforts as well.

Determine which sites located in the projected impact zone are the most important to your organization and why. This helps you plan best to salvage your situation and aid the community.

Strategize Securing Sites

Once you’ve determined which sites are the most critical, it’s time to determine exactly how you will secure those sites.

In addition to the storm itself, things like looters and thieves will threaten your resources. Protecting them is critical to minimize losses during emergencies.

These situations call for use of a guard force or utilizing law enforcement. Both have their benefits and challenges, and both require pre-planning in order to stage their resources effectively.

Ultimately, you have to keep your assets interests in mind, and with the scarcity of law enforcement resources, contracting a security provider might be your best bet.

Does your company have a plan together to prepare for this hurricane season?

It might be wise to check your current plans to better prepare for this season in order to determine if you know vulnerable locations, recognize your critical assets, and construct a plan to hire a company to secure them.

Do you need help identifying your first step to ensuring your company is protected in case of a hurricane?

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