Hurricane Preparedness Checklist from the WBCM Committee

The 2019 hurricane season is already here, and according to weather forecasts, up to four major storms could form. We are all familiar with the basics of hurricane preparedness, such as monitoring weather advisories, validating employees’ contact information, and having a notification system in place.  However, the WBCM committee has included a checklist (click here to download in PDF format) with 10 more proactive measures we can take to optimize business resilience.

If your organization already has these strategies in place, this checklist is a good reminder to test them and refine them. If your company has not implemented these strategies, it is a good opportunity to review them and assess putting them into practice.


¨    1 Employee Accountability Validate employees’ personal residence and flesh out a strategy to account for them in-person, if needed. For example, group employees per ZIP code and determine which HR team members would account for which area(s)
¨    2 Personal Emergency Preparedness Remind employees to have an emergency preparedness plan in place (e.g. emergency kits at home, cash, food and water) and to familiarize themselves with the community’s local resources that could be leveraged during a crisis
¨    3 Roles & Responsibilities During a business disruptive event such as a hurricane, new tasks will need to be performed (e.g. distribute emergency supplies). The Incident Management team (IMT) should discuss in advance who would perform which key new functions during recovery efforts
¨    4 Satellite Phones Procure a few satellite phones to leverage at time of an event.  Test them and train assigned team members on how to use the devices. Share these numbers with key vendors and/or suppliers, as well as with other locations within your organization
¨    5 Satellite Network Connectivity In addition to MPLS and/or internet circuit DR failover strategies to access the network, consider implementing connectivity via satellite. If this approach is followed, test the strategy and review with the business the key applications that would be available and users that would be granted access. Granting access to all apps to all employees is not realistic due to the more limited bandwidth satellite network connectivity typically provides
¨    6 VPN Access Validate not only that remote access and its failover strategy are working but also that all employees that would require VPN connectivity have been configured to use it and are familiar with the procedure that would need to be followed
¨    7 Key Local Suppliers & Vendors Engage with key local vendors and suppliers ahead of time to capture the latest contact info from them. This should include physical address, main phone line, cell and satellite phone numbers. If communications are impacted during a hurricane, in-person visits might be required to reengage with key local suppliers and/or vendors
¨    8 BCM Charge Code Ensure a charge code/account for tracking all expenses that would be incurred for recovery efforts is assigned in advance. This will make cost tracking easier for insurance purposes (e.g. assessing if the deductible has been met and if it is worthwhile to submit a claim)
¨    9 Offloading Strategies If at time of an event a mission critical business process needs to be offloaded to staff at a backup location, ensure the strategy has been reviewed in detail and tested. Clarify expectations and resource requirements with the staff at the backup location to ensure a smooth transition.
¨    10 Mindfulness Training During a crisis, stress levels increase and making good decisions quickly can become extremely challenging. Advice employees, and especially the Incident Management Team, to take basic mindfulness training to learn to self-regulate and lower stress while increasing situational awareness