INTERNATIONAL SOS ADVISES ORGANISATIONS TO PREPARE FOR ‘ABOVE NORMAL’ HURRICANE SEASON AND TYPHOONS IN ASIA AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As predictions are for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, International SOS advises organisations to prepare for extreme weather conditions, while managing other risks including the ongoing pandemic and civil unrest. Also, in Asia, Tropical Storm Risk has forecast six tropical storms, 15 typhoons, and eight intense typhoons.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center recently released its predictions1 for this year's hurricane season, forecasting a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
“In the current pandemic environment, the prediction of an above normal hurricane season will mean an additional layer of mitigation measures and potential assistance to be put in place for many organisations. Reviewing plans will be critical to ensure they reflect the working circumstances in the ‘new normal” said Dr. Robert Quigley, Senior Vice President and Regional Medical Director of International SOS and MedAire."
Erika Weisbrod, Director of Security Solutions, Americas, explains, “As a direct result of COVID-19, there is an additional concern regarding workforce welfare, with employees more dispersed than ever before due to work-from-home measures. While these measures may help manage business continuity during COVID-19, they do not necessarily encompass crisis management planning for hurricane response. Organisations must properly factor remote workers when it comes to knowing who might be impacted, whether and how to relocate them out of harm’s way and to safety”. In addition, it is necessary to consider COVID-19 exposure and spread when it comes to determining evacuation and shelter-in-place options, accounting for constraints on transport, accommodation, emergency response and medical facilities.
International SOS plays a leading role in providing natural disaster assistance and support in the event of the medical and security risks that can arise from hurricanes, and this year, as they are coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is eight top best practice tips for organisational preparedness:
- Identify locations and facilities based on the probabilities of hurricane impact using historical geographic data.
- Educate your workforce on the necessary supplies required for hurricane shelter-in-place or evacuation, to include food, water, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitiser and disinfectants
- Be prepared to suspend operations at and travel to at-risk locations for periods of a week or more.
- Assess evacuation options, to include shelter and transport, to factor in sufficient social distancing to limit COVID-19 exposure and spread. Where evacuation options are limited, identify shelter-in-place plans.
- Establish appropriate thresholds for determining when to evacuate or relocate personnel and have a clear structure in place to communicate these measures throughout your organisation.
- Account for access disruption, to include enabling employees to have the capability and equipment to work from remotely/from home. Anticipate potential disruption to power and communications.
- Develop pre-scripted messages and test means of mass notification to ensure functionality of messaging prior to an emergency.
- Consider a table-top exercise to test your organisation’s incident management or business continuity plan to assess preparedness and identify areas for improvement.
For organisations interested in protecting their workforce during hurricane season, a playbook and plan can be downloaded here.
Notes to Editors
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help you meet compliance reporting needs for good governance. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.
Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group is trusted by 12,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune Global 500, multi-national corporate clients and mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 10,000 multi-cultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 85 countries, 24/7, 365 days.
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