Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, 2022. While organizations in highly impacted areas often prepare months in advance, there are steps every business should take to prepare for the nationwide uptick in severe weather caused by hurricanes.
Security leaders should work to protect their remote and onsite employees from storms by employing a number of risk management and physical security strategies. AlertMedia's Sara Pratley, Vice President of Global Intelligence and Jason Moreland, Senior Meteorologist share how businesses can best prepare themselves for the upcoming hurricane season.
Outlook for the 2022 hurricane season
2020 and 2021 were record-setting hurricane seasons in terms of named storms, and 2022 looks to be no different, according to Moreland. With between three and five major hurricanes predicted to affect the Atlantic region, businesses across the U.S. need to protect against the effects of the storms.
Organizations based inland and away from hurricane landfall areas also need to enact emergency procedures during hurricane season. According to Moreland, in 2021 "more people died from inland freshwater rainfall flooding in the Northeast than the Southeast from Hurricane Ida, a major hurricane. This was also the first time that many areas in the northeast U.S. were placed under a flash flood emergency, which is one level higher than a flash flood warning," he said. "Many people were caught off guard even though the forecasts were in place several days before the remnants of the storm made its way into that area."
Security and business impacts of hurricanes
Loss of life, injury and property damage are some of the effects caused by severe weather during hurricane season. In 2022, the shifting business landscape may add another layer to hurricane safety plans — protecting remote workers.
"Even though your locations may not be in hurricane-prone areas, your employees themselves could be, and they're going to look to you for guidance if and when they're impacted by a storm," said Pratley.
From fuel shortages to loss of power, often the effects of a hurricane on employees involve factors other than direct interactions with severe weather. Developing an emergency plan and communicating security strategies to employees prior to, during and after an event can help reduce damage, according to Pratley.
Protecting employees and assets from the storm
There are many strategies security leaders can use to better protect their business community from the effects of severe weather.
Creating and reviewing the organization's hurricane preparedness plan, communicating that plan to employees, and conducting tabletop exercises prior to a major hurricane or named storm can help businesses keep their people safe during severe weather incidents, according to Pratley.
"Another way you can help to keep your people, your property and your businesses safe is by proactively monitoring for these things and really staying ahead of them," said Pratley.
Checking building exteriors for debris, collecting supplies like generators prior to a storm, and reviewing local weather plans to determine location-specific threats are all strategies security leaders can proactively implement before a hurricane strikes.