Storms are certainly something that holidaymakers and businesses should be concerned about when planning trips for leisure or work, but there is no excuse for being unprepared – International SOS has issued some up-to-date advice for US hurricane season, in addition to that recently given by the US Travel Insurance Association.
Following the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s predictions that four to eight of the nine to 15 named storms that we can expect in 2019’s hurricane season are likely to become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher – and two to four are looking likely to be between category three to five hurricanes (as destructive as last year’s Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and Hurricane Michael in Florida) – International SOS has issued some helpful best practice tips to encourage preparedness for businesses and travellers alike:
- Identify and assign risk ratings to locations and facilities based on the probabilities of hurricane impact using historical geographic data.
- Provide all tools necessary that impact personnel in the workplace, helping to support business continuity.
- Be prepared to suspend travel to and operations at at-risk locations for periods of a week or more.
- Establish appropriate thresholds for restricting travel and put a clear structure in place to communicate these measures throughout the organisation, both locally and more broadly.
- Account for access disruption, to include enabling employees to have the capability and equipment to work remotely / from home.
- Develop pre-scripted messages and test means of mass notification to ensure functionality of messaging prior to an emergency.
- Consider a table-top exercise of your organisation’s incident management or business continuity plan to assess preparedness and identify areas for improvement.
- Ensure reliable information sources are available to travellers and staff to stay apprised as storm paths and severity.
International SOS has also created a pre-scripted playbook and plan aimed at organisations looking to protect their workforce during hurricane season. In addition, country risk ratings, which take into account impacts from natural disasters, can be viewed via its Travel Risk Map.
“Over the last several years we have experienced brutal hurricanes that caused a lot of devastation in multiple areas,” said Matthew Bradley, Regional Security Director of International SOS and Control Risks. “The frequency and severity of such hurricanes not only have a tragic cost to human life, but businesses in affected areas have suffered too. As hurricane season approaches, it is important to implement safe practices that prepare businesses and travellers for extreme weather conditions, and education is the best way to do this.”