Hurricane Sandy is arriving today at the East Coast of the US and is being hailed as a "Super Storm." Hurricanes are a rarity in the East Coast and local and State Governments, private and public organizations are pulling out all the stops to keep people safe. Businesses have to wonder what they can do better, at least next time because it is turning out that Hurricane Irene last year was not an isolated event for the US East Coast. Here are some thoughts:
Transportation: In an unprecedented cautionary move, Connecticut has banned trucks on highways from 11 am and all non-emergency travel on highways from 1.00 pm. Better safe than sorry is the mantra of all officials across the region. The subway trains have been closed in New York and generally transportation has ground to a halt in the East Coast according to CNN. If you are in the transportation business there is nothing much you can do except share with customers you are delivering to that there will be delays. Going forward improving delivery "status" updates via digital and social media means might at least keep everyone on the same page. Those businesses that deliver their product or travel to customers or work need to probably develop routines that can deal with several days of transport disruption. Delivery schedules could perhaps come under review as soon as this type of Caribbean hurricane is forecast which provides a week's lead time. If the processes are in place - customers can be contacted for moving up deliveries of supplies, before the storm.
Electricity: Electricity companies across the region are a beleaguered lot. Contractor crews are moving by road from Texas over 2000 miles (3200 km) away. Since everything is so dependent on electricity life comes to a complete halt as water gets into substations, trees fall on power lines and transformers burn out. Since food spoils in the refrigerator and there is no electricity for the microwave or stove, folks dash to the coffee shop who cannot offer coffee because most of their equipment is based on electricity. It's probably time for smaller restaurants to look at the cost benefit of getting generators or trying liquid petroleum gas as a standby heating source. Between internet service providers, utility companies, telephone and wireless providers there needs to be some way of providing a solution to smaller businesses to keep going as power is restored.
Property Insurance: Insurance companies and their customers need to probably explicitly deal with what is hopefully not going to repeat every year. There is a flood zone provision in most policies but insurance companies need to review their estimates of what are flood zone regions in such hurricane situations. Businesses probably should be more receptive and be willing to pay that extra premium when the insurance company clearly spells out the payment after its actuarial calculations.
Thus businesses can try and prepare better for transportation, electricity and insurance matters going forward. Meanwhile this blog wishes all its US East Coast readers safety during and after Hurricane Sandy. Contact StratoServe.