Hurricane Sandy spins a new name in severe weather systems

Although as I write this we’re nearing the end of hurricane season for the year, the US is not going to get away without suffering more disruption from tropical storms. The latest threat is Hurricane Sandy, which is currently buffeting the Bahamian islands after wending her path of destruction through Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, leaving at least three people dead in her wake.

Today rated a category 2 storm, Sandy is on a trajectory to make landfall in southeast Florida as early at tonight. As she lands, she is expected to broaden and weaken, but still will have the potential to disrupt operations for all sorts of businesses and lives along her path. According the The Guardian, forecasters are predicting that the east coast of the US will be battered next week by a combination of gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and even snow. One writer has dubbed the arrival as a “snor’eastercane,” which is a weather phenomenon that is not called out in the typical business continuity plan.

However, if you’re a business continuity professional, you already know that this snor’eastercane should be treated like any other severe weather event. Now is the time to review your plan and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What has changed since this plan was developed; is it up to date?
  2. Do you have a way to communicate with your people if the storm interrupts normal operations?
  3. Do you have current contact information for everyone on staff?
  4. Do you have complete contact information for everyone on staff, including home phone, cell phone, email addresses, SMS, etc.?
  5. Do you have an escalation plan in place so you know who needs to be alerted or called upon as systems are impacted?
  6. If you need get input from your team or your execs, do you have a conference bridge you can quickly pull them together on?
  7. Is your staff trained; do they know what communications to expect and how to react if, say, they are told to evacuate quickly?
  8. Have you tested your plan and your notification system lately?
  9. Have you established a post-event follow-up plan to get things back on track quickly?
  10.  Have you reviewed, evaluated and adapted your plan since your last interruption?

Asking these questions today will help you keep your business on track and your customers, vendors and employees informed, no matter what the weather.

Download the Definitive Guide to Business Continuity Planning to learn more.