Friday, November 2, 2018

Weather-Related Catastrophes and Calculating the Aftermath

David Trumble

Each year, the U.S. averages a dozen tropical depression storms, with many developing into Category 3, or higher, hurricanes. According to the National Hurricane Center, 2017 was one of the most destructive seasons on record.  Last week Hurricane Michael, an unexpected Category 4 storm devastated an entire town in the panhandle of Florida.

These natural disasters are generally reported by the number of injuries, lost lives and damage to buildings and infrastructure. The estimates to rebuild often reach into the billions of dollars. There are also longer-term economic losses to consider including: business downtime, recovery and decreased consumer spending levels.  Add to the equation, an economic ripple effect that potentially impacts businesses not directly in the path of a catastrophic storm.

In the years following Hurricane Katrina, it was determined that indirect economic losses rivaled the direct cost of the storm, estimated at $81 billion. When combining all factors, including the total economic impact in neighboring states, those estimates exceeded $150 billion. Tropical storms and hurricanes are a top risk-management priority for businesses operating in vulnerable areas today.

A comprehensive crisis management plan incorporates provisions for tropical storms, hurricanes, tornados and other catastrophic events. In addition to addressing immediate losses, the plan should consider the longer-term disruption of business levels and include sales and marketing programming as a fundamental part of the recovery process. It’s critical to ensure that the plan is updated frequently and executable at both the enterprise level and across all field operations.

Crisis management planning and recovery should include:

A corporate crisis team with defined roles and authority

  • A response team specifically trained, equipped and deployable at a moment’s notice
  • Designated command centers in close proximity to the impacted area
  • An emergency supply chain to provide portable power and life sustaining essentials
  • Training at all levels
  • A recovery team dedicated to rebuilding lost business

A crisis management plan should be considered a top priority of an organization’s daily operations with provisions for the disruption of normal business activities for not only hurricanes, but all incidents that your organization would deem a crisis. The plan needs to be widely disseminated and frequently updated.

Integrated Crisis Management Solutions is composed of security operatives and communications professionals offering risk assessments, streamlined emergency protocols, management training, customer and media relations and recovery programs. For more information, go to

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