From 2020 to 2021, there was more than an 11 percent increase in cyclones globally, as detected by OnSolve Risk Intelligence. Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a 65 percent chance of above-average activity this year. So far, their meteorologists expect a range of 14-21 named storms, including three to six major hurricanes.
If these predictions are accurate, it looks like Mother Nature has some challenges in store for us between now and November.
With 2022 set to deliver the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season, this annual weather pattern may be starting to feel like an old hat . . . but if you want to hold onto yours, it’s important to be prepared.
In today’s fast-paced world where change often comes as quickly as a tornado whips up, organizations need effective critical event management (CEM) capabilities to protect their people, places and property and keep business operations running.
Weather the Storm of Dynamic Risk
Dynamic risk is defined by the unpredictability of both the critical event itself and its resulting damages. Typically, the ultimate harm is different than what was initially expected. In the aftermath of a dynamic risk, organizational leaders often find themselves saying, “We were expecting this particular type/location of impact, but then we got hit in a completely different area.”
Hurricanes are just one example of dynamic risk, and with the season upon us, organizations must be ready not only for the storm, but also for the other events it may trigger.
Whether it’s immediate dangers like power outages and flooding, or long-term risks like disease contagions, mold exposure or supply chain issues, mitigation hinges on preparation. Weather events – especially hurricanes – are defined by their volatility, making this particularly difficult. Given the breadth of potential damages, it can be hard to know where to focus. Shift your manufacturing? Reroute your supply chain around road closures? Prepare for landfall during prime operating hours? All are possible when a hurricane is on the radar.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all these complications. A robust disaster recovery program can help leaders stay calm and organized.
Shore Up Your Defenses in 4 Steps
Effective crisis response isn’t about creating the perfect plan for every single scenario. Instead, your disaster recovery program should focus on adaptability, which relies on CEM capabilities to ensure your response teams – as well as all general staff – are ready to shift along with those rapidly turning tides and whipping winds.
Regardless of industry or sector, successful disaster recovery programs paired with CEM capabilities can accomplish the following:
- Identify your objectives: What does success look like? If you can establish realistic business continuity metrics, you can set goals to keep everyone focused. Review your numbers during regular operations (sales, production, delivery, etc.), and consider how they may be affected by reduced capacity due to infrastructure damage or supply chain disruptions caused by the storm. Risk intelligence can improve the accuracy of these predictions, as well as help target objectives in the aftermath of the storm. The ability to hit benchmarks and celebrate those victories can help bolster morale.
- Set up your communications system: How will everyone stay connected? From the time the hurricane watch begins through evacuation and all the way into recovery, everyone needs to be able to stay in touch. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get all staff familiar with using a two-way mass notification system, including sending, receiving and responding to alerts. Run through an all-hands-on-deck evacuation drill, so everyone can practice their specific action steps and identify any communications gaps in advance.
- Establish your leadership hierarchy: Who will maintain accountability for each objective and the staff assigned to it? This applies to ongoing safety checkpoints, as well as business objectives. Determine where those areas overlap and the level of responsibility appropriate for each leader. Verify you have a clear process for people to mark themselves safe or request assistance, as necessary. This is another area where technology can ease the burden of command with automation.
- Develop your recovery strategy: How will you adapt to the post-storm environment to keep operations running? Hurricanes can have a very long tail. Prepare to continually adjust your benchmarks and stay mindful of the overarching effects on the lives of your people. Most likely, staffing will have to be adjusted due to long-term evacuations and home repairs. A system with a reliable audit trail will give you the opportunity to regularly evaluate your progress and make adjustments so you can improve your strategy the next time Mother Nature strikes.
Ultimately, it’s about thinking through your process so you can respond to the storm in the way that best serves your big picture goals and the specific details necessary to accomplish them.
Find Calm Faster After the Storm with the Right CEM Platform
To find the right CEM platform to help you handle hurricane season, seek out a well-aligned technology partner who will help maximize your preparation and response with the following capabilities:
- Risk Intelligence: Powered by AI, this component can aggregate and sort complex data about an incoming hurricane. It then compares how your operations align with the various impact zones so you receive a clear picture of the relevant threat landscape. You receive alerts about hurricanes likely to impact your people and property with severity levels.
- Critical Communications: You need a means of sending targeted, time-sensitive alerts to every person affected by the storm. It should offer multi-language options and the ability to send via phone, email, SMS, desktop alerts, IPAWS and voice. The ability to pre-create a bank of messages will save time during an evacuation when every minute counts.
- Incident Management: As wind and water damages unfold, you’ll need a convenient means of distributing interactive instructions and updating them on an ongoing basis. A mobile-first platform will accelerate and simplify your process by allowing response teams to mobilize immediately and adjust on-the-fly via real-time visibility and targeted coordination.
The right platform for critical event management helps you protect your people, places and property before, during and after a hurricane. It also enables you to address hurricanes as dynamic risk by improving your response to subsequent cascading events caused by the storm.
All signs point to a busy hurricane season. Make sure you’ve got all the latest information and every advantage to ride out each and every storm that comes your way. Check out the OnSolve Hurricane Preparedness Kit for expert crisis management and communications guidance.
Take Your Hurricane Preparedness to the Next Level
Check out our preparedness kit, which includes expert guidance on hurricane preparedness and messaging topics, tips and tools for ensuring your hurricane messaging strategy is on track, and resources for organizations to help communicate with their people.