As luck would have it, my family decided to move to the Jersey Shore shortly before “Super Storm Sandy” struck the East Coast in late October 2012.   Our house, a turn of the century bungalow, sustained no storm damage.  We were lucky.  My friends and neighbors also survived the storm with their homes intact.  In fact, except for the damage to our town’s boardwalk, most residents suffered little impact, beyond an 8-10 day power outage.  Considering the devastation that occurred in neighboring towns, and much of the Northeast’s coastal area, we all felt very lucky that things weren’t worse.

Once the storm was behind us and restoration in progress, I began to question if it was only luck that kept my community safe.  To answer this question, I thought about potential contributing factors that caused some communities–comprised of commercial, government and residential properties–to be more affected than others:

  • Nature: Things like altitude, proximity to water, beach conditions and storm size had a huge impact on how much damage homes and businesses alike incurred during Sandy.
  • Man:  Things like location of property, construction, storm fortification all factored into the storm’s impact.  In addition, the flow of communication was critical. Before, during, and after the storm, people received information from multiple sources, including employers, media, utilities, public officials and others to help ensure everyone’s safety.

In the aftermath of Sandy, residents, officials and businesses alike are examining how well the public was informed and prepared to deal with the storm.  As a result of this assessment, several areas have been modified to pro-actively prepare for future storms including: flood zoning, construction standards and zoning, utility infrastructure and service restoration as well as beach fortification.

In looking at this list, I realize that we’ve learned quite a bit about big storms since Hurricane Katrina. While we can’t control the weather, we can control how we plan, prepare and respond to it. Is your organization ready for a potential disaster?

To help you prepare for a natural or man-made disaster, AT&T has published the 2012 Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Handbook.  For the seventh straight year, AT&T has updated this comprehensive guide to give organizations the information they need to sustain operations through a period of significant interruption.