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Atlantic Business Continuity Services

Hurricane Season Arrives Early

May 8, 2015Scott CaveNews

Although we are still a few weeks away from the official start of hurricane season on June 1, the season is now open with the formation of Subtropical Storm Ana last night off the South Carolina coast. Organizations that plan to survive and thrive through Ana and other storms this season should heed this early season storm and plan now for effective hurricane recovery. Following are a few tips to keep in mind while reviewing or writing your hurricane plan.

1. Plan to Recover. Planning should always begin with the end goal in mind. The purpose of your hurricane plan should be to recover quickly and effectively, with an intentional emphasis on recover. We have reviewed many hurricane plans from a variety of organizations, businesses, and municipalities over the years, and have seen first-hand that most plans fall short in the recovery section. The plan may have 20 pages of detail covering the actions to be performed leading up to the hurricane, but only one or two pages of actions after the hurricane. The preparatory steps are important, but the recovery steps are even more important. If you don’t have a detailed recovery plan then your plan is setting your organization up for failure.

2. Plan to Relocate. In the worst-case scenario, a major hurricane could cause enough damage that it may take weeks or even months to return back to your regular facility or office. Your organization needs a long-term plan to conduct operations at some inland facility for an extended period of time. This involves more than just finding another building or office space. There are housing considerations, families, pets, children, day care, schools, and a long list of other technical, resource, and planning issues. Make sure your organization takes the time to really unpack all details associated with long-term relocation of your people, technology, equipment, communications, etc.

3. Plan to Recalibrate. Even the best plans don’t always play out as expected. In our experience, the best plans are those that have the most options. Make sure your plan has enough flexibility and options to allow your team to recalibrate and adjust as needed based on the conditions of the event. Time and again we see the value of plan exercises as the best way to identify gaps or weaknesses in plans that often lead to more plan options. Continue to take time for tabletop exercises to engage your team in the plan and identify those areas that can be improved or strengthened. This practice is invaluable in setting your team up for success to recalibrate and adjust as needed during an actual event.

We will cover additional hurricane planning tips in future articles. Please share your questions about your hurricane plan so we can address those as well.

RESOLVE TODAY. Now is the time to start, review, or update your Hurricane Plan. Start by contacting Atlantic for a Hurricane Readiness Assessment on-site with your team. We will walk you through a brief hurricane exercise to test your current plan and identify your gaps or areas for improvement. We’ll leave you with a detailed report of how you can improve your plan to not only survive, but thrive through the next storm that may impact your organization.

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