This page deals with the preparation we recommend when a storm is imminent. There are many more steps you should take to keep you and your family safe. We're concentrating more on keeping your business running during and after a storm.
You've been watching the hurricane forecast cone for the last week and now it looks like you could take a real hit. It's too late for long-term planning but we need to do what we can to prepare quickly.
Here is what we would do.
Power is Key
One of the most critical considerations when dealing with a storm is power. Without power, you may not be able to communicate or know what is going on.
- Charge your phone, tablet, laptop, portable power packs, etc. Make sure you have your chargers ready to take with you.
- Make sure your battery backups are all fully charged and ready to work. Unplug them from the wall outlet during the storm.
- After the storm, you can use the battery backups to charge your electronic devices if the power is out for an extended time. During Irma, we used them to power a small TV while the power was out.
Prepare for Impact
Expect heavy winds and rain. If you are in a low-lying area, or even if you are not, a big storm can bring a surge of water to deal with.
- Before unplugging anything, take some photos so you know what goes where. We'll be happy to help you get things connected again but having the ability to do it yourself with certainly be faster.
- Unplug all electronics from the power source and wired networks. Power surges and lightning strikes can be devastating for electronic devices so you'll want to take away the path to your equipment.
- Move ground floor equipment to a higher location such as a desk. Move items away from the window. Consider covering equipment with plastic bags. Realistically, if you lose your windows or roof you probably have more problems to deal with that starting up your computers again, but this seems to be a popular recommendation.
- If possible, move critical items like a server to the safest place in the building. If you have a backup appliance consider having it in a different location or take it to a safe place. Please check with us first.
Communicating is Vital
We're all going to be busy preparing for the storm. We need to be prepared to communicate when communication may not be so easy.
- Make sure you have our contact info readily available, along with that of key vendors, your insurance agent, your power company, etc.
- Communicating with your employees will be very important. Make sure your contact list is up to date and make sure all employees know what your plan is for staying in touch before, during, and after the storm. Consider sending a group text before the storm so you have an easy way to contact everyone when things get bad.
- Let us know your plans before, during and after the storm. We'll be ready to help but we will also have to deal with the same storm impacts as you do.
- Work with your Acarte' support contact to schedule shutting down your servers and network. We want to assure a clean shutdown of your equipment if necessary.
- Most modern email systems can be accessed through a web interface. If you don't have that feature or know how to use it please check with your support rep.
- Social media is a great way to communicate with many at once and give them updates as to your status. Check out our social media recommendations here.
- Phone apps such as Zello and Gas Buddy are very handy after a storm. Install them now and understand how they work. Share Zello contact info with friends and colleagues.
Here are some other things to consider.
- Consider if you have any onsite backups that you may want to take with you when evacuating. You should already have offsite backups. If you don't please check with us for options.
- Make sure your asset photos are up to date, inside and outside of the building.
- Set your internal phone system to forward calls to the cell phones of key employees.
- Set your email out of office reply. Consider changing your voicemail messages for both office and cell phones.
- If you have an ice machine make sure it is filled to the top. Consider filling up coolers. Ice is your friend when the power is out.
- You probably don't have a bathtub at your office, but they do work great for storing a bunch of water. Great for flushing when there is no water pressure. Fill up your coolers that aren't being used for ice.
- Update your website and social media to let your clients know the status of your office.
- Fill up your gas tank. Fill up approved gas containers. Running out of gas after a storm is not fun.
We've got many more recommendations, tips, and tricks that you can get by signing up for our newsletter in the box to the right of this page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with the links below.
OK, now that you've prepared for the storm, here are some suggestions for how to recover. Hopefully, you won't need them.