With June 1 signaling the official start of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, all eyes are on the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for the development of tropical storms. Fortunately, conditions for a cyclone are currently unfavorable and there’s no sign of imminent risk. But, that may not be the case for long.
In its 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook issued May 22, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecasted near-normal or below-normal activity with 8-13 named storms, 3-6 actual hurricanes, and 1-2 major hurricanes. Most will not take place until the peak of the season, which for the Atlantic Basin, runs from August through October. The greatest risk of cyclone development typically comes in early to mid-September.
At Send Word Now, we urge you to take this time to review your organization’s business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan, particularly as it relates to hurricanes and other extreme weather events. Consider the following recommendations for communicating in a crisis and make improvements when and where possible.
Think worst-case. Even if your organization isn’t located in the region covered by the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it could be impacted by a storm. Supply chains may be disrupted, data centers closed, or worse, remote employees unaccounted for. Treat possibilities as realities so you’re always prepared for the worst.
Invest in technology. If your organization is still relying on manual call trees to communicate during critical events, consider the implementation of an emergency notification service. SaaS-based solutions like Send Word Now’s Alerting Service provide rapid, multimodal communication that is both highly efficient and affordable. Options like WeatherBlast® (powered by WeatherBug®) are especially beneficial this time of year.
Increase your messaging odds. In a large-scale weather event, communication can prove difficult. To increase the odds of your critical message(s) getting through, use as many modalities (i.e. landlines, mobile phones, email, SMS, etc.) to notify employees, mobilize response teams, or account for everyone’s safety.
Alert early on. Hurricanes take time to develop, and using advanced technologies, weather experts can make landfall estimates within a high degree of accuracy. At the first indication you may be in a storm’s path, or potentially affected by it, let employees know you could be activating your BC/DR plan. Remind them to take the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves and the organization.
Get the data you need. Confirm or update everyone’s emergency contact information now, and continue to do so on a regular basis. The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs through November 30, and a lot can change with employees re-locating, new hires coming on board and others leaving in six months’ time. The use of a Self-Registration Portal could prove invaluable to ensuring your organization’s critical communications readiness.
Test the plan. There’s just no better way to know you’re really prepared for an emergency.
Take the advice of others. Countless organizations, including Send Word Now client, PR Newswire, have experienced the wrath of Mother Nature and have best practices to share. Take every opportunity to learn from them, and routinely gather information from credible sources like Ready.gov. After all, the more you know, the better prepared your organization will be.
To kick start your hurricane preparedness efforts, download Send Word Now’s White Paper, Seven Severe Weather Communication Mistakes That Can Negatively Impact Your Business Resilience.
Like you, we’ll keep our eyes on the skies in the months ahead.