Your Disaster Plan: Continual

Nov 17

MP900414115 - SmallYou want your disaster plan, also known as a “business continuity” plan, to be complete, accurate, functional, up to date, and able to meet your recovery objectives. To ensure that you meet these goals, there’s no better way than a “live test.”

You can create buy-in among managers and staff by providing a test scenario that’s specific, realistic, detailed, and comprehensive.

Consider this real-world example: A television communication company in Miami was completing its disaster plan when it learned that a powerful hurricane was headed straight toward Southeastern Florida. Fortunately, because the business had several days’ warning, it was able to implement the plan rapidly and communicate it to employees. Although the company was prepared for the worst, the storm struck to the south and west, near Key West.

Although there was no significant damage in the Miami area, the exercise tested important components of the plan, such as the ability of the business to:

  • protect equipment and strengthen the building in a timely and orderly manner
  • activate and maintain an alternate transmission site
  • test backup electrical generation and other equipment under adverse weather conditions
  • communicate emergency technical instructions to affiliate stations throughout the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world
  • sponsor a shelter for emergency storm personnel
  • release and recall staff in an orderly basis

A post-disaster meeting led to a number of refinements in the plan. Most important, the exercise confirmed the ability of the company to maintain important business activities at a pre-established acceptable level, with minimal impact to its customers and revenue stream.

If you’d like advice on testing your company’s business continuity plan before disaster strikes, just give us a call.


How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Oct 02

Hurricane shutters

Your level of preparation before a hurricane can determine how well you weather the storm and how quickly you recover from it. You should start preparing your home, inside and out, long before a storm is in the forecast. In the end, you can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property from extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Know the Forecast

You may hear the terms “hurricane watch” and “hurricane warning” in your local forecast. Understanding the difference between them is essential to helping you prepare for a hurricane. As soon as a hurricane watch or warning is forecast for your area, it is important, depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparations.

A watch means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. You should begin to stock up on emergency supplies in the event a warning is issued. If you live in a coastal area, you also should be prepared to evacuate.

A warning is more serious. Hurricane-force winds (74 mph or higher) are expected to hit your area within 36 hours. You should seek shelter or evacuate, if notified to do so.

General Hurricane Preparation Tips

  • Prepare a survival kit that includes items such as water and non-perishable food for everyone, including your pets; medications; a portable radio; flashlights; batteries; and battery chargers for your cell phones and other portable electronic devices, which can be powered by your car.
  • Plan your evacuation route and leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued. Also, fuel up your car before you leave.
  • Build a content inventory of the items in your home or at your business.
  • Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside. Close your home’s storm shutters and board up windows and glass doors as appropriate.
  • If possible, bring in gas or charcoal grills, but do not use them indoors. Also, do not store propane tanks inside the house or garage. Chain propane tanks in an upright position to a secure object away from your home.
  • Secure your boat or move it to a safer place.
  • Fill your emergency generator fuel tank, if you have one, and have spare fuel on hand. Store generator fuel in an approved container in a garage or shed, away from open flames, heat sources and appliances such as natural gas appliances.

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Five Tips to Help Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

1. Help Avoid Water Damage

Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant water damage. These tips can help you prepare your home.

  • Closing and locking all windows and doors and removing any window air conditioners.
  • Removing valuable items from your basement or elevating them off of the floor.
  • Clearing debris from exterior drains and gutters.
  • Repairing damaged gutters and downspouts to make sure water can drain away from your foundation.
  • Checking your sump pump and the battery backup to confirm they are working properly.

2. Monitor Your Trees

In a powerful windstorm, trees can be a hazard. Broken limbs or fallen trees – even uprooted shrubbery – could damage your home and fences, or your neighbor’s property.

Routinely maintain the trees around your home:

  • Prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home.
  • Check for cracking or splitting in trees.
  • Remove dead limbs and weakened trees.

3. Roofs, Doors, Windows and Skylights

It is important to keep wall openings, such as doors, windows and skylights protected. The roof, doors and windows of your house are especially vulnerable to wind damage. When houses are exposed to hurricane force winds, roofs are most susceptible to damage, followed by walls and openings such as skylights.

Strengthen doors and windows by:

4. Secure Outdoor Items

If you live in an area that experiences high winds, outdoor items around your property that are not properly anchored can become airborne and cause damage.

  • If high winds are expected in your area, move as many outdoor items indoors well before the high winds arrive. As mentioned earlier, do not store propane tanks in your home or garage.
  • Adequately secure any remaining outdoor items that cannot be safely moved to protected areas.

5. Strengthen Your Exterior Structure

During a windstorm, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls and then to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind and wind-driven water gets under the building’s exterior walls if proper controls are not in place.

Strengthen exteriors by employing a contractor to:


Are you really prepared if a hurricane hits?

Jun 10

Raley, Watts, & O'Neill, MD, HurricanesHurricanes are one of the most destructive storms known to man. These powerful cyclones can cause catastrophic damage to your house’s structure and landscape, and they can also lead to serious injury if your family is at home during the storm. If you live in a coastal area where hurricanes are likely to occur, preparing for these disasters in advance is essential. Take the steps below to make sure your home and family will be protected in the event of a hurricane.

1.  Watch the weather.

According to, hurricanes are more likely to hit during hurricane season, which occurs between June and November. During this time, watch the weather carefully so that you are aware of potential storms before they hit. If you learn that a storm is coming, begin preparations immediately.

2. Protect your property.

Before a hurricane hits, protect your property from damage as much as you can by reinforcing doors, covering windows and securing any objects that may become airborne, such as lawn furniture and trampolines.

3. Follow hurricane safety tips. recommends listening to the radio or television before and during a hurricane. If evacuation is recommended, leave your home as instructed and go to a safe place. The authorities may also instruct you to shut off your utilities. If you stay in your home during the storm, be sure that you have a supply of food and water. Avoid using the phone and remain indoors until the storm is over.

4. Insure your property against damage.

If you live in an area where hurricanes are a possibility, obtaining adequate hurricane coverage is very important. A standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover damage caused by a hurricane, contact our office about securing additional coverage.

Content provided by Transformer Marketing.




Safety tips for your home during hurricane season

Aug 20

Raley, Watts, & O'Neill, MD, Hurricane PrepHurricane season is approaching fast, and it’s time for homeowners living in coastal regions to prepare. According to, there are steps you can take to make your home safer during a hurricane, both for your family and for anyone who happens to be nearby.

1. Tie down anything that can’t be moved inside.

When a hurricane is approaching, one of the best things you can do to prevent injury and damage is to bring anything that could be picked up by the wind to a safe, indoor location. However, certain items, such as swing sets, may not fit inside your home or outbuildings. Secure these items by tying them down.

2. Secure your home.

To prevent damage to your home, install permanent storm shutters to reinforce your windows. Secure your roof using straps, and reinforce the garage door to keep it from breaking apart during strong winds. Improve drainage and prevent water damage by clearing out all rain gutters.

3. Prepare your landscaping.

Limbs of trees caught by the wind can cause serious damage in a hurricane. During hurricane season, recommends keeping all trees and other shrubbery neatly trimmed to increase their wind resistance.

4. Watch the weather.

Many hurricane safety measures cannot be taken until the storm is imminent. Watch the weather throughout hurricane season so that you will be aware of any approaching storms.