Hurricane Preparedness Policy at Revelry

Image Source: NOAA/STAR

We’re sharing our company hurricane preparedness policy in hopes that this can be helpful to our friends on the east coast — or anyone who hasn’t been through as much as we have here in New Orleans. You’re welcome to take it and add it to your own company wiki, or share it with anyone it might help.

Florence looks gnarly. This is how we roll at Revelry. Godspeed.

First and Foremost: You are solely responsible for making safe and expedient decisions.

What’s written here is provided for informational purposes and is not exhaustive or guaranteed to keep you safe. It is merely the combined wisdom of your colleagues, as well as some guidelines about what the company expects you to consider in the event of a storm.

Make safe decisions

First and foremost, make decisions that will keep you and yours safe. All other considerations are secondary. If this involves extra time helping loved ones that may impact your work, please speak to a supervisor so we know what is going on and can work to accommodate.

Make decisions that will allow you to be back to work quickly.

We have a “work from anywhere” policy that permits you to live as nomadic a work life as you please.

With this policy comes responsibilities, and one of those is that you also use it to the company’s advantage. This means that “the internet is out at my house” is not a get-PTO-for-free card. (Personal devastating loss after a storm is a different story, and we will work with you individually if things really go sideways.)

We expect you to assess your situation first for safety, and then for “Which decision will ensure I can get back to work?” If you determine that you would be safe to stay, but that you would miss more work by doing so, we want you to evacuate.

Next: Hurricane Preparedness

Start at least thinking about your preparations when a storm is forecasted to enter the Gulf or your location falls in the “cone of uncertainty.”

  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank topped off. 3/4 full is the new “empty.”
  • Have potable water. Even if you evacuate, you’ll want it on the road.
  • The same for ready-to-eat food: have it.
  • Make sure your medications are all in one place and ready to go.
  • Keep your important documents all in one place and ready to go.

If you choose not to evacuate…

Plan to lose power

Precautionary steps:

  • Keep all phones, laptops, and other mobile devices fully charged while power is still available.
  • Pack your freezer and refrigerator with extra frozen items like ice packs. Do not open them unless everything is about to spoil and you’re going to eat it or throw it out.
  • Speaking of cooking, make sure you have food that will be edible without the use of electrical cooking appliances. (You might still have gas, though.)
  • If you have a generator, stock up on gasoline in regulation-approved containers. (Gasoline is caustic and will eat through other types of plastics.) NEVER EVER EVER run a generator indoors. You will die of carbon monoxide poisoning if you do this.
  • Speaking of carbon monoxide, the same never-indoors rules apply to gas grills, charcoal grills, and such.

Plan to lose internet

You probably won’t have internet. There are no cautionary steps. Just because you have a generator doesn’t mean the internet will work.

As previously stated, you are responsible for making good decisions that will get you back to work quickly. Please keep this in mind when you choose whether or not to evacuate: You need internet to work.

Plan to lose safe running water

The pumps that pressurize running water are electric. If the power goes out at the station, or there is other damage, a resulting drop in pressure that can either stop your taps completely or render the water non-potable. (If you’ve been through a “boil water advisory” you are already familiar.)

Precautionary steps:

  • Have a good stash of potable water.
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks. You can use this water for washing or to be able to flush the toilet once per day. For maximum efficiency, save water you’ve used for washing and pour it down the toilet to flush.

Plan for flooding

Precautionary steps:

  • Make sure you know how to safely exit your home in the event of flooding.
  • Attics are death traps unless they contain an axe and a healthy/uninjured person to swing it. Just don’t go up there.
  • Get your car onto high ground, if you can, before the storm arrives. Obviously, if the flooding is extremely bad, this might not make a difference, but in the majority of cases it’ll be exactly as bad as the worst street flooding you’ve ever witnessed in your neighborhood, and avoiding particular problem spots helps.

Making the decision to evacuate

Direct hits are bad. The eastern side of the storm is also bad because the storm continually picks up more water from the Gulf. The western side is less bad.

Have you ridden out a storm at your current address before?

Please keep in mind that elevation, construction, and other factors vary from property to property.

With a tropical storm, the main risk is flood water.

Historically this has meant flooded cars and minor first-floor flooding of abodes in low lying areas. Often, the power and/or internet in parts of New Orleans will go out, but be fine in others.

With a Category 1 hurricane, the results have been historically similar to a tropical storm, but with increased risks of wind damage and tornados, putting roofs at risk.

For a forecasted Category 2+ hurricane, we strongly recommend evacuation.

We understand that some employees may have experience staying through a storm at their current address. We trust you to make good decisions as outlined above, but again, you are responsible for making a good choice that gets you back to work faster, and we feel strongly that you should not ride out a Cat 2+ storm.

A few good external resources

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