Growing up in St. Thomas and St. Maarten in the Caribbean, hurricanes were a ritual. At least once a year, and often more, hurricanes threatened our homes and our communities.
Our resilience relied on good advanced planning â€“ from building a supply of food and fresh water to boarding up windows. That preparation was instrumental in helping us minimize significant impact and recover as quickly as possible.
As Hurricane season nears, I'd like to share some thoughts on actions you can take to prepare before hurricanes and major storms arrive. To help minimize the impact of these disasters, you should look at three key areas:
- Resilience Planning
- Early Warning Systems
- Disaster Response
The best time to build resilience for natural disasters is before one strikes. Make sure you plan ahead. Working with experienced companies well in advance of bad weather can help you build a more resilient operation.
Readiness of your physical infrastructure - Can it survive a power outage? Where would flooding occur? Consider creating a contingency plan that incorporates portable power and pumping systems to remove the unwanted water as quickly and efficiently as possible. We often help our customers with this.
Preparation of your teams - Do your teams know their role in the event of a disaster?To minimize any interruption to your operation, your teams will need to move quickly in an emergency situation- clear understanding of their responsibilities will ensure that everything runs smoothly. The same consideration applies to the role and capacity of vendors who can provide vital equipment when you need it most.
Early Warning Systems
Time is critical when responding to a crisis. When it comes to floods, real-time information on precipitation, water levels, and flow rates can not only reduce economic losses, it can save lives. Early warning systems such as email and text alertscan help guide decision-making and increase resilience during and after flooding events.
Disasters like extreme floods don't always follow a 9-to-5 schedule. They can hit at any time. To cope with the sudden onset of water, make sure you partner with a company that provides true 24/7 service.
While we can't avoid disasters like hurricanes and floods, I've learned that it is important to plan ahead. Learn more about how Xylem can help you build a contingency plan so you can be sure you are prepared.