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Businesses Leading Cities Toward Resiliency

Floods. Droughts. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Heat waves. Energy shortages and food shortages. Climate change is impacting every region of the globe.

Extreme weather is taking an extreme toll on cities, communities and businesses around the world. The battle against global warming and climate change isn’t just about energy efficiency, it’s also about resilience and survival for millions of people.

The safety of family and employees is always the first priority in any emergency aversion or response scenario. Business leaders must do their part to avert crisis situations. They also must be ready to help restore infrastructure after storms. Others are being forced to move completely as part of risk aversion and mitigation.

Keeping critical technology and business processes running throughout extreme weather events can help minimize damage and loss of life.

Success or failure during and after these extreme weather events can have personal, financial, legal, and reputational impacts for businesses and government entities alike.

Prepare For Extreme Weather Events

  1. Risk Management: Get your insurance company involved in updated assessments. They are rapidly becoming experts on climate-related risks and losses;
  2. Build Crisis Team: Crisis aversion is priority one. A collaborative vision can help spot weaknesses and overall vulnerabilities within organizations and entire communities. Conduct a risk assessment and prioritize an action plan that focuses on crisis aversion and crisis response.
  3. Assess Infrastructure: Take a full inventory of internal infrastructure so that both physical and digital infrastructure is secured. If a data center or office is located in a place that has been damaged by flooding in the past, these facilities must be reinforced or moved. Are water and power supplies vulnerable? Do we need new sources or backup plans? Losing power can destroy assets and threaten lives;
  4. Evacuation Plans: Do you have multiple escape routes from buildings and properties? Do you have safe zones within buildings? Is it common knowledge among employees and other stakeholders?;
  5. Communicate: Your entire organization, from the C-suite to the field technician, should understand their role in the company’s crisis communications and disaster recovery. Train to get people out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. Train to summon for assistance from first responders. Train to empower stakeholders. Other messages should be ready to help minimize damage to stakeholders and property. Training pays dividends;
  6. Leadership: Before business leaders can prepare their clients for storm readiness, they should take the proper steps to secure and manage their own organization. Industry leadership pays dividends and minimizes losses. It also can put your organization in a position to capitalize on recovery efforts;
  7. Automate and Orchestrate: Companies should embrace automation and orchestration of the recovery processes, which sets pre-determined plans to retrieve critical data in the event of a disaster. More enterprises are using cost-effective, hybrid IT environments to manage hardware and software across different vendors and geographies. Without automation though, a manual recovery plan can take time away from experts that could be used to focus on more high-level duties;
  8. What Else? Who and what are vulnerable? Brace for the worst and hope for the best, but failure to plan for a crisis is planning to fail; and
  9. Train: Constantly test your infrastructure and your overall crisis response plan in the days and months before an actual incident.

Continually audit your organization and your community for emerging and overlooked vulnerabilities. Vision and leadership are more important now than ever.

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Greener Cities is a division of Crossbow Communications. Greener Cities is a resource for sustainable and resilient cities and communities around the world.

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Author: Gary Chandler

Gary Chandler is a sustainability strategist, author and advocate. Follow him on Twitter @Gary_Chandler