Last February, the Climate Prediction Center proclaimed the La Nina to be officially over which means that sea temperatures will be temporarily restored to normal levels up to the end of the summer months. However, after August, they expect the advent of El Nino with sea temperature levels turning warmer which will affect this year’s hurricane season.

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) has forecasted that there is a 50% chance that El Nino will happen during the months of August to October, possibly until November. El Nino occurring during the hurricane season is not good news at all. This is a situation when the east central Pacific Ocean hit 0.5 degrees Celsius over a long period of time causing hurricanes to be more severe.

Last year, the El Nina, although strong, did not cause the expected heavy rainfall. We were lucky in 2016 and the chance of this repeating again this 2017 is a gambler’s choice. In the first place, aside from the hurricanes that occur every year, the country still gets hit by smaller storms and floods. Thus, protecting your business should not be relegated to a game of chance.

If your business is in a high risk zone, you must take responsibility for the safety of your employees, business, and surrounding areas.

  • You will need to survey your business location and get professionals to assess its risk factors
  • Assess your critical infrastructure which should include office layout, location of equipment, roof to determine if they are safe from flooding, tremors, and strong winds. After Hurricane Sandy, the most common property damage were windows and roofs with damages estimated at over $250,000
  • Protect and backup your records and crucial documents. You might want to consider a secure cloud storage. You should also create a records and data recovery plan
  • Have an evacuation plan
  • Look for an alternative temporary location in case your office is inaccessible
  • Get insurance
  • Talk to your suppliers, clients, and vendors – everyone involved with your business. Have a backup plan especially for critical vendors and clients and establish alternative sources
  • Create a core group in your business who can also be part of your crisis communications group

Crisis Communications

Key to your business is keeping the communication lines open. Studies show that text messages is still one of the most reliable since the power, Internet and phone lines are usually the first utilities to go in a major storm.

Your crisis communication group should meet regularly and plan simulated activities. This will help determine who among your employees can be depended on to stay focused while facing danger and risks.

Finally, implement a culture of “Preparedness” for every employee, officer, and client. This not only improves your brand image and reputation, it will boost morale in the office.