Hurricane Sandy-Frankenstorm: Some biz continuity planning resources

Weather forecasters are sounding a loud alarm over an unprecedented storm that could cause massive destruction along the east coast next week. Instead of panicking, dust off those emergency business continuity plans and calmly prepare.

storm clouds vortex

If your business is along the east coast and you're watching those weather reports with growing alarm, there's no need to panic -- as long as you have an emergency preparedness plan on the shelf. If you don't, it's time to develop one.

Weather forecasters have a wary eye on Hurricane Sandy, which they say could get sucked into another storm system to become a "Frankenstorm," causing massive destruction all along the east coast. They warn of catastrophic coastal storm surges, widespread, lengthy power outages and more.

It's still several days out and it may turn out far less severe in the end. But just in case, I've assembled some resources that can make business continuity planning easier:

--Check out the excellent Mike Smith Enterprises blog, which includes some very specific tips. They apply to homeowners, but there's a lot in there businesses can use, especially smaller operations with little infrastructure.

--Check in with emergency planners in the city or town your business is located in. I live in Haverhill, Mass., and often work from there, and the mayor's office has effectively used text messaging, social media and the city website to relay important information to residents and business owners during previous storms.

--Also check in with emergency planners at the state and federal level. They will relay updates through the same sources as municipalities, and if your enterprises has multiple locations in one state or more, keeping up on things could become more complicated.

--Read the emergency preparedness tips put out by FEMA.

--For the most accurate and detailed storm tracking, I prefer the website of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

--Finally, check out the resources we at CSO have assembled over time. Here are a few:

3 MORE tabletop exercises for business continuity: Practice makes perfect - so put your BC/DR plans to the test

Smartphones, social media tied into ELERTS emergency system: Chris Russo, deputy fire chief in the Massachusetts coastal town of Hull, launches ELERTS, an emergency communication system that uses smartphones and social media to communicate with first responders and other emergency personnel.

Storm brewing: What Hurricane Irene showed about risk and human nature

Massive Storms Don't Halt D.C. IT Ops: Nothing was moving in the nation's capital during back-to-back storms earlier this month. But most of the city's 600 IT workers were as busy as ever, working from home.

Good luck and Godspeed.

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