Plan for the “Extreme Case” – Prior to a Hurricane

Emergency checklist
As Hurricane Irma approaches, we thought we would share some smart hurricane
preparation tips. The key is to be prepared, have a plan, know where to go and try
not to freak out. Stay calm and plan for the worse case scenario.

1. For a big storm like Irma, you need enough water to drink for 7 days.
The water does NOT have to be bottled. You can simply buy water containers
and fill them with tap water.

2. Buy plastic sheeting and duct tape. Use the plastic sheeting to line the
tub. Then you can fill your tub with water without it leaking out. You’ll
use this to flush the toilet and for basic cleaning if the water goes out.

3. Have enough food on hand to eat for 7 days – food bars and other
packaged food is good.

4. Buy a large number of Ziploc-like plastic bags – large and small. You’ll
use them to protect papers and other valuables AND you’ll fill them 3/4
full of water and stuff the freezer full. Do that by midweek to be sure
they are frozen when/if the power goes out over the weekend. It will keep
the refrigerator colder. Do NOT set your fridge on the lowest setting.

5. Get a portable radio that receives AM and FM. NOAA radio is good, but
doesn’t get you information on evacuations and other instructions. Get
batteries.

6. Get LED flashlights and/or lanterns. They run forever on fewer
batteries. But you still need plenty of extra batteries.

7. Get large plastic boxes. If you put your valuables, photos, and papers
in plastic bags inside the boxes, they will likely be okay. Put the bins in
a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them
with you.

8. Do your laundry this week! Lol

9. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags.
Fill as much space in between your freezer items with these bags as you can.

10. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in
Tupperware plastic-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between
the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the
container.

11. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the
freezer.

12. Fill up all vehicles with gasoline, check tires & oil.

13. Get your cash from ATM, at least enough for 7-days to get you through tolls and gas out of  town. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don’t freeze
your card for out-of-area “suspicious” transactions.

14. Screenshot all of your important docs & send to your email. Take
originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.

15. Prepare pet / livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need
to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.

16. Make evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where
you’re headed.

17. SECURE ALL FIREARMS & AMMUNITION PROPERLY.

18. Gather old rags & beach towels for use on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels
is better than soaked drywall or floors!

19. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage 
or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early
and relax than wait until it’s too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY
PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).

20. If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies get them now. Shelves are already empty in most places.

Although these are great tips, please rely on official
preparation, evacuation and emergency information available at the National
Hurricane Center and Ready.gov
<https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2FReady.gov%2F&h=ATMT9P9j1MvB9pcIiqMI5TZFuowiDiazB7MNymZrpFM8ZnfhD9daQNLPlLL9WM0hdIESr07SwIBroDVHDglqdvZfWjGgWYfnHsB5PwOx-j4X9mwrfEXQBHWP8vvI3upjHkfqdjF9g1AfjQTUCovBjIhVvXf9KhQ6vflGW2GtKMoKGXX-Y7dW0UvFCSeKgSEoMU3Rsi2Ab5G5didxdgNmPqgvGy-0V4NBw_HxgM75l2QYmSbUiEBJMKK6y7aNcH41ZgkfBjo-8h12h8mesR9U-PsiQvq4TArNQ5JznLA2EymydIwY0GM>

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Hurricanes and Flooding – Planning for Your Evacuation

Animated Don't Panic

At this writing none of us know what the landfall will be of the latest Hurricane churning the Atlantic known as Irma. For those of you contemplating evacuation in advance of a mandatory “go” let’s consider the key things we advise our clients when doing their personal planning.

Using D.E.P.A.R.T as your memorable acronym consider:

DESTINATION: Where will you go and how long under normal driving conditions will it take for you to get there? Are they accommodations pet friendly? Determine well in advance where you will go (hotel, friends or relative’s house, or RV Park, if you are driving or have a camper or RV) and when you will leave to get there. Make your reservations as soon as the hurricane track shows possible tracking through your home area and make them at least one hour (60-miles or so) inland from the possible landfall. Too often hotels in the landfall cone will close their doors and may leave you stranded. Don’t run this risk.  Don’t wait until the last minute to leave and get caught up in the mass evacuation. Simply, pack and leave well in advance and carefully drive to your accommodations.

EQUIPMENT: Our friend Ann Knipe always kept a box of her valuables packed and ready to go into the trunk of her car.  These included her valuable photos and documents (copies of the home owner’s and automobile insurance, leases, deeds, titles to the vehicles, birth certificates, passports, copies of your credit cards, utility bills and the telephone numbers of those companies, a key contact list to include your insurance agent, your doctor, lawyer, etc. etc. and most important copies of your driver’s license). The originals of many of these documents should be in the safety deposit box at your bank. Put all these valuables in a plastic water proof zip lock bag. Also, in another box pack those items you will need to use when cleaning up and making repairs to your home on your return. This can include paper and cloth towels, hand sanitizers, handy wipes, cleaning supplies, etc. Take the time to think through what you must have to return to your home and get back to a resemblance of normality.

PEOPLE AND PETS:  Who will be going with you? Do they need extra assistance or time to prepare to go with you? Are there people you need to check on before departing? Do you have carriers and leashes for your pets? Do you have plenty of extra water and pet food, protein snacks, medicines, bowls and cups?

ATLAS:  A good old fashioned Atlas of maps is essential. We have come to depend on our telephone GPS however during an evacuation cell lines may be down or overwhelmed and there are simply areas where you will not have service. Consider all the alternatives on how to get to your destination in advance and using your Atlas write out the routes in order. You may even choose to highlight the route in your Atlas. Plan your route according to your medical and dietary needs. Remember you are planning to leave in ample time to use any of these routes however when the evacuation is sudden the main route will be congested. Use your alternative.

RETURN READINESS: To get back into the area you will need your ID to prove you are a resident. This can be done with a driver’s license with your permanent address or a utility or credit card bill in your name with the permanent address on it. Before returning load up with groceries and cleaning supplies that will complement what you have already packed such as mops and brooms, etc. When returning gas up often returning with a tank of gas. Local supplies and services will be limited.

TRANSPORTATION: Have all systems on your car, truck or RV checked immediately. Get any repairs or maintenance done on your primary vehicle. Keep your gas tank full. When you decide to leave, with these preparations you will be ready.

Prepare now and evacuate orderly or preferably in advance of the mandatory “go” and stay safe and aware out there.

Mind-mapping crisis messages – Learn to do it NOW!

Mind-mapping crisis messages – Learn to do it NOW!

This is a series of articles that will help you understand mind mapping crisis messages. This process when done appropriately and successfully will ensure you will succeed.

Article 1 in this series – Mind-mapping crisis messages – Learn to do it NOW!

Do you know what you will say when:

¡  You have an active shooter on campus

¡  How about 3-hours into the incident?

¡  A gas line leak causes you to evacuate a dorm

¡  A flood watch is issued and flooding appears imminent

¡  When power fails and an all out effort to restore power is delayed by a strike

¡  When a student is raped, kidnapped, or simply disappears into the night

¡  When workplace violence hits your organization

A crisis grows, changes, and often deepens over time. Like all things in life – a crisis has a starting point, a middle phase and an ending. What you choose to say, who you will talk with and how you will reach them in these days of social media will change at every stage of the crisis.

Some of the worst mistakes are made by crisis communicators because they try to create the messages in the heat of the moment. Ineffective and hurried communications create major blunders and failures.

Simply, when the stuff hits the fan, stress levels are running to the extreme, managers and executives, administrators and supervisors are all uptight and tense, everybody wants to approve and contribute to the messages and if you are the crisis communicator you know you have an incredible feat at hand.

Over the next few blogs we will look at the seven stages of a crisis and how you can use a technique known a mind mapping messages at every stage from the early stages of warning, to assessing the risk, to responding, resolving and recovering.

If you take the time to learn the technique in advance you can create clear, concise mind maps that will help you at every one of the seven stages.

Here are the seven stages we will discuss and help you understand:

¡  1. The advance warning and/or advance intel stage

¡  2. Situation assessment – the stage where you assess pros/cons, good/bad/ugly

¡  3. Communicating the response – how to communicate and to whom

¡  4. Operational management – handling the operations to survive

¡  5. Resolution and path forward prevention – resolving and moving forward to continuity

¡  6. Business continuity – recovery – ensuring a recovery and ensuring continuous movement forward

¡  7. Lessons learned  – recalibrations – learning from what went right, what went wrong, the deltas needed and how best to recalibrate and be resilient

We will explain each stage over the next few blogs.

www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

College directs interested parties to website for more information

Texas A&M at Corpus Christi is directing folks interested in the power outage to their website. A good example of the use of main stream media and RSS – and a good example of how other social media can be used such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share information. –  CORPUS CHRISTI — Three buildings on the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi campus will remain without power Thursday after a power outage late Wednesday.

School officials reported that power went out in various parts of campus about 11 p.m. Wednesday. Texas AEP crews worked on the outage overnight.

However, Island Hall, the Dugan Wellness Center, and the University Center will remain without power for the rest of Thursday as crews continue to work on the issue. AEP Texas is expects power to be restored to those buildings by 7 a.m. Friday.

School officials said in a news release that students who have class or other business in those buildings, should make arrangements with their professors or supervisors.

Also, personnel for research labs and other power sensitive areas are asked to monitor any disruptions because of the overnight outages.

To check on the progress of the outage and for other updates, visit the university’s website at http://www.tamucc.edu/.

When using Twitter, Facebook or other social media for crisis management

To effectively use social media during a crisis, you must have used it in a sustainable fashion well before the emergency. Social media builds electronic relationships, which over time builds trust and credibility between the users of your site and your organization. The time to start a social media site IS NOT WHEN THE CRISIS IS UNDERWAY!

Join me and others for a social media webinar entitled: Campus Crisis and Social Media, February 28 from 2 pm – 3:30 pm. more information at http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

McGill University’s Water Main Break – Reminder: Conduct Regular Situation Assessments

When McGill University had to cancel classes due to a water main break recently, it reminds all of us of the importance of being prepared for such an infrastructure crisis. While most organizations conduct table-top exercises for major disasters even an infrastructure problem can become a major media issue.

When contemplating and planning for table-top exercises a comprehensive situational assessment review is essential. Doing a campus “walk-about” with key managers dealing with infrastructure issues on a daily basis is a prudent idea. Reviewing past concerns and issues and budgets for planned maintenance is also advisable. Don’t forget to review those areas where budgets have been eliminated or reduced as well.

Learn more about crisis, issues, emergency operations and designing table-top exercises at www.ldarrylarmstrong.com