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As if this year could get any worse, 2020 has been labeled with an “extremely active’ hurricane season, predicting 24 named storms between June and November.
Only 21 storm names are allotted each year because the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not used, so the National Hurricane Center has to employ the Greek alphabet for the remaining three. Water temperatures are at near-historic levels in the Tropical Atlantic, which is an obvious contributing factor fueling such an active season.
For so many of us who experienced Hurricane Katrina, we understand how vital it is to be prepared for whatever happens. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up a survival guide for you and your business with helpful tips and resources for getting through the season.
- Take the threat seriously and know your risks.
More often than not, hurricanes defy expectations, leaving people stranded due to last-minute changes in storm paths. The National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issues alerts with key terms describing the weather conditions ranging from tropical storm/hurricane advisory to watch to warning. If the danger is significant, your local government may issue an evacuation notice. Be aware of your vulnerabilities, such as if you are in a flood-prone area or surrounded by potential hazards.
If resources are tight, seek help in advance. By tapping into your community resources, you should be able to plan on a budget. Make sure you know your emergency shelter locations as well as their allowances for what you can and can’t bring with you, especially if you own pets. Stock up on water by reusing plastic bottles and check with local food banks for nonperishable goods. If you’re strapped for transportation, you should alert an out of state contact on your location and register with your local government to let authorities know you’re staying behind. It’s especially important for people with disabilities or chronic medical needs to identify if they need additional assistance during an evacuation.
- Have TWO emergency plans – one for you and one for your business.
For business owners, hurricanes bring an added layer of risks. With any contingency plan, communication is key to all efforts to protect from both tangible and intangible damage. Doing so will not only increase the safety of employees and customers, but it will help you remain in business after disaster strikes. Do not wait until it’s too late to plan for disruptions to your business up to three days after the event. In general, business interruption insurance policies cover specific losses experienced by a business as a result of physical damage to the property that is insured. It would be smart to also get national flood insurance since most interruption policies do not typically cover this type of peril. Your state’s Department of Insurance should provide a list of FAQs; however, the team at Delta is here to help you navigate these waters (no pun intended).
Furthermore, FEMA offers toolkits and checklists for both individual preparation and business preparation that can help you assess your needs for planning. Ready.Gov and the American Red Cross offer additional resources about hurricane risk. Get a Game Plan is available to help strategize the next steps for your family, pets, business, and more. A readily available “go pack/bag/kit” with necessary supplies like medication or important documents (both physical and digital) should be packed before you’re under pressure to do so. Before you leave, protect your properties against wind and water damage as well as cybersecurity threats. After the storm, take careful measures to survey the environment before reentering any impacted facilities.
- Stay Informed
Last but not least, keep constant awareness of what’s going on by keeping your devices charged and downloading apps to track the weather or provide disaster alerts. The Department of Transportation app provides real-time traffic conditions with live camera feeds to track flooding and/or road closures. Portable chargers could provide to be useful during power outages, as well as battery-operated radios.
If you’d like to help, there are a variety of organizations accepting donations for those affected by the recent hurricanes. Here are a few for your consideration: