Working through a hurricane.

Here we go again. Water, check. Gasoline for generators, check. Food-Publix, check (store was packed). Propane for grill, check. Checklist checked, check. More to do, check. The waiting begins. As I’m writing this, a tropical storm watch has been issued for our geographic area – the next 3 days will tell what Hurricane Matthew has in store for us. It seems that, regardless of where one lives, there is a possibility of some natural disaster – earthquakes, tornados, snow storms, fires and more. At least we have the “luxury” in Florida of having some advance notice, however uncertain the cone of uncertainly might be. So, instead of the work I had planned today – client calls, preparation for upcoming cases, you know, the stuff we do to stay in business, we spent an hour or more reviewing our hurricane and disaster planning documents to update things and prepare for what mother nature has in store. And, I began the business/personal preparations noted above – trying to get ahead of the crowds and not being very successful, at the grocery store anyway. We’ll be as ready as we can be and we’ll be as prepared as possible to pick up where we left off when the storm finally passes. We last wrote about our disaster plans in more details in my post #56, so I will not cover old ground. The key to days and weeks like this is to roll with it, get ready and be prepared. Prioritizing ongoing work is critical as well because, as we well know, the only thing that matters to the clients is getting their work completed. This is an understandable priority for them and we aim to make such things happen. Hopefully the power will stay on – but if we have to work on battery power, on generators, or however, we have to do it, we will get the job done.

Fortunately, South Florida was spared from a recent hurricane. All of the planning, preparing, and shopping were, thankfully, a huge waste of time, in that nothing more than a little wind and rain came our way. David calculated that we each spent 30 hours, 60 hours between the two of us, and probably 20 to 30 hours from staff, on hurricane related activities. Our office is located in a small building where our landlord refuses to do anything to prepare for hurricanes, leaving it to us, as tenants, to do whatever it takes to protect all of our office equipment and supplies. We have a disaster plan that we review when we receive a hurricane watch and activate when we receive a hurricane warning. For our small business, it is essential to protect our assets so that we can continue working from whatever location has electricity in the days following a hurricane or other natural disaster. After our office is secure, our employees are dismissed to their homes so that they can secure their belongings and stay off the busy roadways. David and I also go home, being sure to take with us all essential work related equipment, supplies, and documents, to allow us to work at our home for as long as we have electricity. Our “hurricane kit” contains everything we need to conduct business on behalf of our clients, many of whom are in parts of the U.S.A. that are not impacted when a hurricane strikes. As I mentioned in a previous post related to the general topic of dealing with disasters, I strongly believe “The show must go on” despite whatever inconveniences are created by a hurricane, fire, flood, etc. When it comes to living and working in Florida, one had better be prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters because it is not a matter of “if,” but “when,” the next one will wreak havoc. Of course, the best thing that can happen is all our planning and preparing is done for a nonevent. I always prefer nothing bad happening over the alternative!

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