Storm season in Australia can be violent, unpredictable, and has the potential to cause devastating losses to your business. You can counter that by having predictable and reliable property and life-saving storm season safeguards in place. Recent storms, the worst in 50 years according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), have business owners scrambling to make sure they are better prepared for the next one. Let’s look at some of the ways you can properly prepare your business – and employees – for the storm season.
The Storm Challenge
Due to its size, Australia can have everything from dust storms to snow blizzards happening across the continent at the same time. On average, about six cyclones hit Australia every year bringing high winds and torrential rains. Recent storms, that included more than 80,000 lightning strikes and 125km/h winds, knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia. The BOM have studied 200 years of data and have come to the conclusion that more rainfall and disastrous flooding is becoming the norm. More than an inconvenience, recent storms have cost businesses hundreds of millions of dollars. The challenge is how to continue to function in these types of severe conditions, and reduce the damage they cause.
Prepare Ahead for Storm Season
There are steps you can take well before stormy weather approaches. You should take a risk evaluation and ask yourself the following questions:
- What systems are critical to the business? These are the areas on which you need to concentrate recovery procedures.
- How long can systems be down before it impacts the business? If the answer is “not long,” you should consider remote or Cloud options. Take steps to ensure systems are reliable and that fallback plans are in place. If possible, identify where equipment could be relocated for safety and continued operation. An expert knowledgeable with all the backup options available can guide you to the solution(s) that best suit your needs.
- Is there a disaster recovery plan? A 2014 report indicated that 73% of the companies surveyed had no, or woefully inadequate, discovery recovery plans in place. You not only need to have an efficient plan, but you need to know how long it takes to recover using that plan. That’s where someone experienced with recovery processes can help tailor a plan that can actually be implemented successfully.
- Is there a communications process in place to ensure employees (and customers) are kept informed? A communication tree needs to be in place and current employee contact information should be kept up-to-date. Sales and call center telecommunications need to have reliable backup plans installed. When customers are kept up to date on your status, they are more liable to have confidence in your ability to continue serving them. There are a number of options available, so consulting with an expert will allow you to find the most efficient and reliable solution for your specific business.
- In situations where employees should stay home, is there a way to continue working? Many businesses can continue to function if critical employees have remote access. To ensure that the remote access is reliable and secure, consult with communications experts to find the right solution.
- Do employees know evacuation plans? Employees typically aren’t fond of this, but regular training is important. Panic not only causes confusion, but it can be deadly, as well.
- Is there a shut-down procedure for closing the business? There should be individuals in charge of certain tasks, and others who follow-up to ensure they have been done.
- Has backup equipment been regularly inspected and maintained? Ignoring this equipment until it is needed is a sure recipe for disaster.
- Has your infrastructure been inspected to remove potential hazards? Improve drainage in flood prone areas, trim trees, and protect against wind damage.
- Will IT staff be sufficient to handle increased tickets and calls afterwards? Prepare your employees for the extra work that comes after a storm. Making systems as reliable as possible beforehand can cut down on calls to support. There are experts who can recommend and install systems that are scalable, reliable, mobile, and affordable.
After the fact is the wrong time to find the answers to these questions. Planning with the right experts is the key. Know what to do, and how to do it BEFORE the storms strike.
Let Us Help You Prepare for the Storm Season
For help in creating and conducting your risk assessment and finding the experts who can develop customized, affordable solutions based on your unique needs, contact us through our website, or call 1300 446 947, today!