Although June 1 was the official start of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, there is still plenty of time left for systems to form before the season ends on November 30. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma proved that it is never too late in the season to get hurricane plans in place in at-risk areas. As we continue on through 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 OnSolve, we urge you to take this time to review your organization’s disaster recovery 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 agency isn’t located in the region covered by the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it could be impacted by a storm. Be sure to keep in touch with your community for severe weather preparedness, road closures, boil water notices, severe weather updates and warnings, and other key information needed. Treat all possibilities as realities so you’re always prepared for the worst.
Invest in technology. If your agency is still relying on manual call trees to communicate internally during critical events, consider the implementation of an emergency notification service. SaaS-based solutions like OnSolve’s CodeRED solution to provide rapid, multimodal communication that is both highly efficient and affordable. Options like CodeRED Weather Warnings 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 residents, 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 residents and key stakeholders know you could be activating your emergency response plan. Remind them to take the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves, their homes, and their property.
Test the plan. There’s no better way to know you’re really prepared for an emergency.
Take the advice of others. Countless organizations, including OnSolve clients in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, 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 OnSolve’s White Paper, Best Practices in Using a Notification system.
Like you, we’ll keep our eyes on the skies in the months ahead.