Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 hurricane, is threatening Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and potentially all of the East Coast with devastating winds, extreme storm surge, heavy rains, and extensive flooding. In many cases, these conditions can result in power outages, so in advance of the storms arrival this weekend Pulse Technology Solutions suggests some basic precautions that will help you prepare, track the storm, and get assistance if needed.

Ensure that your data is completely backed up, both on-site and in a remote location. Saving your data in two different locations can help you weather even the strongest of storms.
If you have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery with surge protection, make sure the unit is connected and any auto-shutdown software is installed and operational. A sudden loss of power can damage computer equipment and a UPS can maintain a steady supply throughout the worst of a storm.

If you do not have a UPS battery connected to each device, shut down your PCs, servers, printers, and other equipment. This is especially pertinent if you expect or are prone to power outages.

If your office lies in a flood-prone area or is located near a body of water, move devices to the highest spot possible in your office. Moving equipment off the floor to a desk or shelf can often spare it from the worst if floodwaters enter your building.

Enable remote access to your data if you or your employees needs it to work in the days leading up to and immediately after the storm. Once preparations have been put in place and you and your employees are in a safe location, there’s no harm in trying to maintain some semblance of normal operations. Often the businesses that survive a natural disaster are those that can keep up communications with clients and bounce back once the storm passes.

If you need assistance with any of the above actions, contact Pulse Technology Solutions immediately.

Never use candles or open flames indoors. Rely on a flashlight or LED lantern for emergency lighting.

Assess and document any damage to your home, your office, and your equipment. Photographing and documenting any issues can help immensely down the line as insurance claims are filed and replacement equipment is procured.

When assessing damage, NEVER attempt to drive through standing water. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle — and one to two feet of water will carry away most cars. As they say in Texas, “Turn around — don’t drown,” a lesson that was highlighted in and around Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

Remove and discard any porous organic materials that have become visibly wet or contaminated by floodwaters. These can contain mold spores or other dangerous toxins that can damage equipment, even if it looks untouched.

If using a generator, ensure that the main circuit breaker is off and locked prior to starting the generator. This can prevent costly damage to your main breaker and office wiring.

Implement your disaster recovery and business continuity plan as soon as it’s viable. Recovering data, reactivating undamaged equipment, and returning to the normal flow of day-to-day business can help your company beat the odds and bounce back from a natural disaster. The Small Business Administration estimates that nearly 60% of businesses that are affected by a natural disaster never recover.
If you need help with any of the above actions or don’t have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place, contact Pulse Technology Solutions immediately.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and in preparation for Hurricane Irma, Pulse Technology Solutions is offering a free situational assessment and disk extraction for businesses that suffer water damage of any kind. We stand ready to do whatever is needed to help you resume normal operations and recover your critical business information. If your systems have been submerged or exposed to the elements, do not power them on — doing so can worsen the damage already done and make it impossible to recover your data.

It will take days, weeks, and perhaps months to fully account for the loss of life and property caused by both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It will take much longer for Houston and surrounding areas in Texas to fully recover, as will most likely be the case along the Southeastern US coast in the wake of Irma. As small business owners ourselves, Pulse Technology Solutions understands the need to assess damage, recover what is salvageable, and then take the first steps toward returning to normal operations. That’s why we stand ready to help any business affected by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma. We are in it for the long haul with you.