With Hurricane Preparedness Week coming to a close and the official start of the season kicking off today, it’s time to assess your readiness and prepare — if you haven’t already.
Effective disaster recovery is about anticipating the worst and making yourself or your business ready. Recent research by the American Red Cross indicates that more than 50% of all Americans do not feel prepared for natural disasters.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the 2011 hurricane season’s biggest event, Hurricane Irene, caused more than $15 billion in damage and killed 49 people. This year, projections are mixed, as meteorologists predict fewer named storms but greater proximity to the U.S. coastline. According to a recent report in Forbes, hurricanes in 2012 are more likely to develop closer to the U.S., which will make forecasting more difficult and reduce warning lead-times.
Irene’s U.S. Impacts:
- Including flood losses, damage is estimated to be $15.8 billion
- 49 fatalities (41 in the U.S., 5 in the Dominican Republic, 3 in Haiti)
- Torrential rainfall caused catastrophic flooding in the Northeast
- More than 7 million lost power from North Carolina to New England
- Coastal erosion was severe in portions of the North Carolina Outer Banks
Preparation requires a good understanding of how, and how quickly, you can get back to normal life or your company can get back to work should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike. It is important to make a serious risk assessment that focuses on the likelihood of a disaster in your geographic area and the length of downtime you can tolerate. From there, you can create a readiness action plan.
Free Preparedness Tools Available
Ready Rating created by the Red Cross for businesses, organizations and schools is a free, online tool that can help you prepare for the 2012 hurricane season.
The tool helps to achieve a higher level of readiness by providing members with access to one-of-a-kind tools, resources and information for evaluating and improving their ability to withstand disaster, maintain operations, and protect lives and property . Please consider visiting and taking their “123 Assessment” of your readiness level.
FEMA also has lots of hurricane preparedness resources to help. But you better hurry up, the 2012 hurricane season officially kicks off on June 1st on the Eastern seaboard!