Earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes – “oh my.” Last year in Virginia we experienced each of these. Hurricane season started June 1, and while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near-normal hurricane season this year, “near-normal” still means a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms.
How many storms impacting your entity would it take to make it an “active” season for you and your employees? Most likely, just one.
So far the 2012 season has started with two tropical storms – Alberto and Beryl. Of the nine to 15 storms predicted by NOAA, four to eight are predicted to strengthen into a hurricane, and three will become major hurricanes.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and impact property several hundred miles inland. They produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour, toppling trees, utility poles, and damaging buildings. As a result communication and electricity could be lost for days, and roads left impassable due to fallen trees and debris.
The flooding and high winds associated with hurricanes may also disrupt the distribution of fuel or other petroleum products, causing additional challenges for organizations that rely on such supplies – especially when relying on fuel for backup power generation.
According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, all of Virginia can be affected by tropical storms – not just the coastline. Even weakened storms such as Tropical Depression Gaston in 2004 caused major problems for inland areas. Gaston and Tropical Storm Jeanne resulted in federal disaster declarations, loss of life, and tremendous property damage.
Fortunately there are a number of resources available to help your entity prepare.
Entities with property and liability coverage with VML Insurance Programs (VMLIP) can get started by developing a business continuity plan with VMLIP partner Agility Recovery Solutions. Agility has more than 23 years of disaster recovery and business continuity experience.
Eligible VMLIP members have access to a dedicated Agility Continuity Planner who can assist with developing a customized business continuity plan, as well as develop a customized “My Agility” web page on the Agility Web site. The My Agility page contains sample programs, guides, and other planning tools to enable members to create, store, view and update their recovery planning information.
The plan will help members identify the resources their entity will need at the time of recovery in addition to helpful information on, and assistance with creating an internal communication plan. Additional features include the ability to store contact information and other important documents. If a hurricane or other widespread or localized disaster should occur, Agility will then be ready to provide any of four key elements to your entity to ensure a quick and effective recovery –power, technology, office space, and internet/phone connectivity. With regional warehouses across the United States, Agility can deliver these items within 24 hours.
For more information on Agility, check out the video below or Agility information and links on our Web site.
For additional resources and information on hurricane preparedness, visit:
Additionally, FEMA has a “Are You Prepared?” widget code that you can post on your website, and you can share the 2012 Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Guide, which contains information on evacuation routes, traffic reversal plans, storm surge information, and more.
The VMLIP Multimedia Library has a video – Emergency Action Plan: Crisis Under Control – available for free usage to eligible members. This 16 minute video provides information to help your entity develop a workable emergency action plan.
VMLIP offers more than just coverage. We are partners in risk management. How does your insurer stack up? Having all lines of coverage with VMLIP ensures that your organization is receiving comprehensive coverage and a wide variety of value-added services tailored to Virginia’s local governmental entities. Call for a quote today: (800) 963-6800. For more information on VMLIP visit: www.vmlins.org or follow us on Facebook.
** VMLIP blog postings are offered for VMLIP members to utilize in strengthening their risk management efforts. See copyright information for clarification on sharing this information.