24 October 2005

Hurricane Risk: Floridians Take On Another Cat. 3...

The residents of Florida have learned some lessons over the past 14 months about preparedness. They have just been blasted by another Category 3 storm with over a month left to the end of the season. The estimates are now coming in that Wilma will have a significant impact with over $5B. in insured damages.

Hurrican Wilma came ashore with winds of 125 mph near Cape Romano, about 20 miles south of Naples, at about 6:30 a.m. local time. The coastal parts of Collier County, which includes Naples and nearby beach resort Marco Island, haven't been hit by a hurricane since 1960.

The state was hit by a record four hurricanes last year, causing a combined $22.9 billion in insured damages. Charley accounted for $7.5 billion, Ivan caused $7.1 billion, Frances resulted in $4.6 billion and Jeanne left $3.7 billion in insured damages.

Hurricane Katrina, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, is expected to be the most costly U.S. disaster for insurers. Storm modeler Risk Management Solutions Inc. estimated $40 billion to $60 billion in claims, as much as three times the $20.8 billion produced by Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992.

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, hospitals across the United States of America are re-evaluating their disaster recovery plans. VHA, the national health care alliance, surveyed member hospitals across the country, and nearly half of those who responded are planning to modify their disaster plans - changing their evacuation plans, seeking alternative communication systems and preparing for extended periods of self-sufficiency.

More than 350 hospital leaders and managers, ranging from chief executive officers and chief nursing officers to materials managers, pharmacists and emergency department coordinators, responded to the VHA survey. According to respondents, nearly half (48.2 percent) are planning to change their disaster recovery plans.

Here are a few reminders for getting your Business Ready:

1. If you rent, lease or share office space, coordinate and practice evacuation and other emergency plans with other businesses in your building or facility.

2. Conduct regularly scheduled education and training seminars to provide co-workers with information, identify needs and develop preparedness skills.

3. Include preparedness training in new employee orientation programs.

4. Do tabletop exercises with members of the emergency management team. Meet in a conference room setting to discuss individual responsibilities and how each would react to emergency scenarios.

5. Schedule walk-through drills where the emergency management team and response teams actually perform their designated emergency functions. This activity generally involves more people and is more thorough than a tabletop exercise.

6. Practice evacuating and sheltering. Have all personnel walk the evacuation route to a designated area where procedures for accounting for all personnel are tested. Practice your “shelter-in-place” plan.

7. Evaluate and revise processes and procedures based on lessons learned in training and exercise.

8. Keep training records.

No comments:

Post a Comment