Hurricane Preparation Checklist – the Final 48 Hours

Hurricanes are expensive and deadly. Yahoo Finance reported that 7 of the 10 most costly U. S. weather disasters over the past 30 years were hurricanes. But the good news about hurricanes – if there could be “good news” about hurricanes – is that they are generally predictable, allowing for thoughtful preparation before the storm actually hits. Given time and proper planning, individuals and businesses can reduce the exposure to the risks posed by hurricanes. Global Data Vault has helped many customers though hurricane planning, and we’ve learned what it takes to minimize risk and recover quickly.

We’ve compiled this hurricane planning checklist to help you and your company prepare – even in the final hours as a hurricane approaches:

Hurricane Planning Checklist #1: Family

1. Develop an emergency communications plan. In case family members are separated from one another during floods or other disasters, have a plan for getting back together. Separation is a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school.

2. Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to be your “family contact.” Your contact should live outside of your area. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call. Family members should call the contact and tell him or her where they are. Everyone must know the contact’s name, address, and phone number.

3. Call your property and casualty insurance agent, it may not be too late to update limits and add appropriate coverage.

4. Discuss what to do if authorities ask you to evacuate. Make arrangements for a place to stay with a friend or relative who lives out of town and/or learn about shelter locations. Review a list of what you would take if you are asked to or if you decide to evacuate.

5. If you do not plan to evacuate, check your emergency supplies. Some things you’ll want to have on hand are:

  • AA portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and first aid manual.
  • Supply of prescription medications.
  • Credit card and cash.
  • Personal identification.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Signal flare.
  • Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go.
  • Wrench to turn off household gas and water.
  • A week’s supply of water and nonperishable food.
  • Additional recommendations here

6. Be familiar with escape routes. Depending on the type of disaster, it may be necessary to evacuate your home. Plan several escape routes in case certain roads are blocked or closed. Remember to follow the advice of local officials during evacuation situations. They will direct you to the safest route; some roads may be blocked or put you in further danger.

7. Protect your financial data and digital memories. Call Global Data Vault at +1-214-363-1900. (See IT preparation…)

8. Plan how to take care of your pets. Pets can sense when a storm is coming and can go into hiding or behave erratically from fear. Be sure to keep tabs on where they are and ensure that your disaster planning includes a safe haven for them with you or family and friends with clean water and plenty of food.

Hurricane Planning Checklist #2: Personal and Business Data (IT)

Don’t put your data at risk. Whether you are a current customer or not, call Global Data Vault at +1-214-363-1900.

1. If you are already a customer, we can perform a final check to be sure your system is ready. We have a special checklist that we’ll walk through to ask about protection for all your critical data – we are also happy to run through this anytime you like – not just when disaster is looming.

2. Review and/or decide who is responsible to shut down your IT systems. If we have provided a local backup appliance, let us help you perform your IT shutdown. Then, if you are evacuating, unplug and take the appliance with you – or, if there is time, package it very well, and ship it to us.

3. If you are not already a customer, call us anyway. There may well be time to protect critical data. It would be especially helpful to have a USB drive handy, like the ones you can buy at Office Depot for around $100.  We’ll protect your data for 30 days at no cost or obligation.

Hurricane Planning Checklist #3: General Business

1. Call your property and casualty insurance agent, it may not be too late to update limits and add appropriate coverage.

2. Review and update employee emergency contact information – make sure everyone has the latest information.

3. Review and update vendor emergency contact information – make sure everyone has the latest information.

4. Provide alternate contact information to your customers – or let them know if you expect your primary contact methods to failover and/or to survive intact.

5. Review your emergency communications plan. During an emergency, being able to efficiently communicate with staff, customers, authorities and the public can make a huge difference in regards to how well your business will be able to recover from the disaster.  To better assure this efficiency, it is wise to encourage open communication amongst workers prior, during, and following an emergency situation. A good outline can be found in our blog here.

6. Encourage all employees to arrange alternative means of transportation for traveling to and from work after the storm in case normal modes are interrupted.

7. Decide when to close your offices. Determine who has the authority to initiate an evacuation. It is a good idea to develop a chain of command that enables others to give the order if the designated individual is not available.

8. Specify who will be responsible for shutting down critical operations and locking up the facility during an evacuation. This is another instance where you should train additional staff in case the designated individual is unavailable.

9. Let your staff know that you plan to support them after the disaster. Here are some good guidelines and ideas

10. If you setup a remote IT operation after the event, remember these security precautions

Remember that disaster planning is a good idea even when you aren’t glued to the weather channel watching the hurricane approach. Start thinking about what to do when you are not in a stressed situation, and remember that you are not alone. There are many people and resources that can help you, your family and your business survive and recover from the worst of storms.