Preparing for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season – Part 2: Why Everyone is Affected

Preparing for the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season – Part 2: Why Everyone is Affected

In our last post we gave you AccuWeather’s forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season and explained how a downed server in New Jersey can mean suffering in New Mexico. Even if you’re not at risk of being directly impacted by a hurricane or tropical storm, it’s still likely your daily life will be interrupted when supply chains are interrupted.

Computers: Wonderful and Terrible at the Same Time

Remember, businesses and distribution supply lines are entirely reliant on computer servers. Servers run on power. When the power is out, everything stops until it comes back on – and that’s best case. Worst case, if business’s servers are destroyed or damaged, they’ll have to be repaired or replaced. Then they’ll have to have an expert attempt to recover their existing data and programs, and these experts are likely to have a waitlist of their own if a disaster is widespread, which is what we saw when a hurricane hit New York City! This Server 101 lesson is important because you need to understand that they’re fragile and it’s estimated that about 60% of US businesses don’t have a disaster-recovery plan for their computing systems. It’s true that some businesses, like drug manufactures and banks, are required by law to have a plan. But – until it’s really tested by a disaster, who knows if the plan will work. It’s one thing to wait on a part for your lawnmower, it’s another thing to wait on insulin.

Make a Plan

Last week we asked you to go through a normal week and write down the critical things that keep you, your family and your business going, which have to be shipped. Think about things like:

  • Does your pet eat a special food or take medication?
  • Do you take medication that is manufactured in or distributed from a different zip code?
  • Are you planning to repair or buy a car in the near future?
  • Do you need materials to remodel or build a house?
  • If the shelves at the grocery store were empty, could you get by?
  • Do you require medical equipment in order to live or stay healthy?

Shipping delays and interrupted supply lines can affect you, no matter how far you live from a coast. If you, a pet or livestock need food or medicine that has to be shipped, right now is the time to order a month or three-month supply. Keep in mind that your doctor can usually write a prescription for a three-month supply of most medications – you don’t have to refill them month-by-month.

If you’re planning to buy or repair a car, the time to do it is right now. The last two hurricane seasons have caused delays of up to six months in shipping for cars and car parts, even for American-made models. Same goes for building materials and medical equipment and parts. Of course, everyone should have a long-term food supply stored at all times!

Stay tuned: Next week we’ll walk you through an updated list of how to prepare for hurricane season if you live on or near the coast.

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