Hurricane Sandy: what can businesses really do?

Hurricane Sandy is arriving today at the East Coast of the US and is being
hailed as a "Super Storm."  Hurricanes are a rarity in the East
Coast and local and State Governments, private and public organizations are
pulling out all the stops to keep people safe. Businesses have to wonder what
they can do better, at least next time because it is turning out that Hurricane Irene last
year
was not an isolated event for the US East Coast. Here are some
thoughts:

Transportation: In an
unprecedented cautionary move, Connecticut has banned trucks on highways from 11
am and all non-emergency travel on highways from 1.00 pm. Better safe than
sorry
is the mantra of all officials across the region. The subway trains have
been closed in New York and generally transportation has ground to a halt
in the East
Coast according to CNN
. If you are in the transportation business there is
nothing much you can do except share with customers you are delivering to that
there will be delays. Going forward improving delivery "status"
updates via digital  and social media means might at least keep everyone on the same page. Those
businesses that deliver their product or travel to customers or work need
to probably develop routines that can deal with several days of transport
disruption. Delivery schedules could perhaps come under review as soon as this
type of Caribbean hurricane is forecast which provides a week's lead time. If
the processes are in place – customers can be contacted for moving up
deliveries of supplies, before the storm.

Electricity: Electricity
companies across the region are a beleaguered lot. Contractor crews are moving
by road from Texas over 2000 miles (3200 km) away. Since everything is so dependent
on electricity life comes to a complete halt as water gets into substations,
trees fall on power lines and transformers burn out. Since food spoils in the
refrigerator and there is no electricity for the microwave or stove, folks dash
to the coffee shop who cannot offer coffee because most of their equipment is
based on electricity. It's probably time for smaller restaurants to look at the
cost benefit of getting generators or trying liquid petroleum gas as a
standby heating source. Between internet service providers, utility companies,
telephone and wireless providers there needs to be some way of providing a
solution to smaller businesses to keep going as power is restored.

Property Insurance:
Insurance companies and their customers need to probably explicitly deal with
what is hopefully not going to repeat every year. There is a flood
zone provision in most policies but insurance companies need to review their
estimates of what are flood zone regions in such hurricane situations.
Businesses probably should be more receptive and be willing to pay that extra
premium when the insurance company clearly spells out the payment after its actuarial
calculations.

Thus businesses can try and prepare better for transportation, electricity
and insurance matters going forward. Meanwhile this blog wishes all its US East
Coast readers safety during and after Hurricane Sandy. Contact
StratoServe
.

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