With Atlantic hurricane season starting today, this week is national Hurricane Preparedness Week, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is teaming up with other federal partners to help get businesses and communities StormReady. Each year, Americans cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes, and two landfalling hurricanes. The impacts of this weather have a significant effect on the U.S. economy. In fact, routine weather events in the U.S., such as rain and cooler-than-average days, can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billion, or about 3.4 percent of the 2008 gross domestic product (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, PDF).
These effects are most keenly felt by those businesses that don’t reopen after a storm. The American Red Cross reports that as many as 40 percent of businesses fail following a disaster. But businesses that are weather-ready don’t have to be part of this statistic. They can be a force of nature by knowing their risk, taking preventative action and being an example for their community. NOAA and other federal partners have a number of tools available to help businesses better prepare for extreme weather.
One of the first things you can do to prepare your business is to learn about your specific risk when it comes to extreme weather. Gather information about hazards by contacting your local emergency management office, American Red Cross chapter and NOAA’s National Weather Service forecast office. Knowing and understanding this information ahead of time will help you prepare to respond and protect your resources as well as your business continuity. It is also critical to learn your community’s warning signals–like NOAA Weather Radio, sirens, and text alerts–and evacuation plans.
After you’ve gathered community specific information, take action. Be a Force of Nature by joining the ever-growing number of StormReady communities. Being StormReady means your business has multiple ways to receive forecasts and warnings from the National Weather Service (such as via a NOAA Weather Radio), monitors local weather conditions, promotes public readiness through community seminars (such as Storm Spotter training sessions), and has a formal hazardous weather plan.
Once you have taken action, share your story with your colleagues and community leaders. Highlight your weather-readiness on your website, company blog and social media sites. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to help us achieve the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.
For more information and ideas on how your business can become a force of nature, visit: