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Surviving Hurricane Irene: What Worked, What Didn’t, What Was New?

by Roberta J. Witty  |  August 30, 2011  |  2 Comments

As most of us are now on the other side of Hurricane Irene, we want to ask everyone what recovery controls worked, which didn’t and which were new for your organization or your town. For example, the local fire departments around my area (Northwest CT) are offering charging stations for citizens to use for devices such as cell phones, laptops and so forth. This service is a big boost to telework programs which depend on the workforce having power from their home or distributed location.

Also, it seems that emergency/mass notification services (EMNS) were used extensively to alert the population of storm status: NYC through NotifyNYC and NYC-OEM sent regular pre- and post- alerts regarding the event, I received voicemails or emails from my local CT town management, Connecticut Light & Power, and JPMorganChase alerting me about disaster preparedness status and steps to take if I needed assistance.

Another new feature was the use of texting: If one texted the name “Irene” to 501-01, National Grid would text regular updates on electrical power restoration status to your cell phone.    This feature definitely was not around back in the days of Hurricane Gloria (1985) or Bob (1991) and was quite useful since over 500K National Grid customers lost power.

Also, going to wifi hot spots at venues like Starbucks and McDonald’s is certainly a new capability. How many of you used one of these options?

And, on August 26, 2011 FEMA launched its first-ever smartphone application and text messaging updates. Available right now only on the Android smartphone, Blackberry and iPhone support will be coming in a few weeks.

What were your experiences if you were in an impacted area?

Roberta Witty and John Morency

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Tags: availability-risk  backup-and-recovery  banking  bcm  bcp  bia  business-continuity-management  business-continuity-planning  business-impact-analysis  emergency-notification  emergency-preparedness  incident-management  it-disaster-recovery  mass-notification  operational-risk-management  records-management  recovery-planning  resiliency  risk-assessment  roberta-witty  supply-chain-risk-management  workforce-continuity  

Roberta J. Witty
Research VP
11 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Roberta Witty is a research VP in Gartner Research, where she is part of the Compliance, Risk and Leadership group. Her primary area of focus is business continuity management and disaster recovery. Ms. Witty is the role specialty lead for… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Surviving Hurricane Irene: What Worked, What Didn’t, What Was New?

  1. I used Twitter feeds from CL&P and DEMHS to gage how the battle was shaping up, and where emergency shelters and supplies were. My Blackberry let me tether my laptop so that I could work at home (I have a generator and use tethering because my Internet connections were out.) Many towns in my area of Northeastern Connecticut had cell phone charging stations, showers and food and water from the state stockpile.

    I was more fortunate that some of my fellow employees, who were in towns that cell towers were disabled by the storm. We had good cell service throughout the storm.

  2. Roberta Witty says:

    Thanks Larry. The cell phone tethering capability is a great addition to the list.

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