IIABNY strongly encourages members in the New York City metro area, including Westchester County and the two counties of Long Island, to make serious preparations today for the possibility that Hurricane Irene will strike the area. As of 8 a.m. today, the National Weather Service was predicting:
“The outer bands from Irene (are likely to begin) to impact the area late Saturday into Saturday evening. Conditions are then likely to rapidly deteriorate in torrential rain and strengthening winds late Saturday night. The worst conditions are likely late Saturday night into Sunday afternoon with increasing potential for damaging winds...flooding rains...and significant coastal flooding across much of the region. Depending on the exact track...intensity and timing of hurricane Irene...there is potential for moderate to major coastal flooding damage if the greatest surge coincides with the times of high tides Sunday morning and/or Sunday evening. This surge will be exacerbated by battering surf.”
Given the grimness of this forecast, IIABNY urges all members in the affected areas to take the following steps suggested by the New York City Office of Emergency Management (Note: Due to heavy Internet traffic, this link is not working consistently today):
- Assess the potential hazards (i.e., wind and water damage).
- If you don’t already have a plan for continuing operations, make plans now. To do so:
- Identify critical business operations;
- Create a management chain to include at least one person on-site and one off-site;
- If possible, contact your clients before the storm and let them know how they will be able to contact you afterward;
- Make sure that appropriate staff members have laptop computers or smart phones so that can retrieve and distribute information as needed;
- Make back-up copies of your electronic records and store at least one copy off-site;
- Store back-up paper copies of important documents off-site;
- Determine how you will operate if your building and/or utilities are unavailable after the storm.
- Keep handy claim reporting contact information for the carriers that insure your business.
- Discuss the situation with your staff. Collect landline and cell phone numbers so you can keep in touch. Make sure every employee understands what his or her role and responsibilities will be during and after the storm. Encourage them to take immediate steps to prepare themselves and their families for the storm. Be prepared for the likelihood that your employees will be experiencing their own personal emergencies because of the storm and will probably be distracted and anxious.
- To the extent possible and feasible, secure your facilities, building, equipment and records.
- Lastly, don’t be a hero. If authorities order you and your staff to evacuate, do so immediately. Unlike property, people can’t be replaced.
IIABNY is prepared to assist affected members during this emergency. If you have phone service, call (800) 962-7950, dial extension 212 and let us know how we can help.