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August 12, 2010 / Dave Gorham

A (Very Important) Word About Response Timeline Triggers

[I’m guest-posting today for Ed Schlichtenmyer, one of our Business Continuity Program Managers.  We’ll be hearing more from Ed from now on.  – Fred]

So far this hurricane season we’ve been relatively fortunate. Storms to date provided the chance to limber up and exercise our response plans. During these warm-ups, we learned from many of our clients that they are still using traditional triggers to progress through their response plans. Triggers such as “a named storm has entered the Gulf,” “landfall ≤ 72 hours” or “Category 2”, though useful, aren’t sufficiently objective. Not when the safety of your personnel is on the line. Fortunately, objective guidance data is available.

Examples of objective guidance data that would be used instead of the traditional triggers include ImpactWeather’s HRI, PWI and HSI. The HRI (Hurricane Risk Indicator) is a long-range tool that identifies a possible hurricane risk to your location over the next 5-7 days. The HRI lets you know that you need to pay closer attention to the tropics – it’s the tap on the shoulder. The PWI (Probability of Wind Impact) displays the probability of a specific location receiving a certain threshold of wind. Wind probabilities are calculated for 5 wind speeds, including 58mph – i.e., 50 knots, which is the National Weather Service threshold for severe storm wind speed.

The HSI (Hurricane Severity Index) uses comprehensive equations which compute not only the intensity of the winds but the size of the area the winds cover. This more accurately defines the destructive capability of a given storm than other scales currently used, such as the Saffir-Simpson. When a threat is identified, these examples and other objective weather data are updated several times per day and are reported to you via email and your client weather website.

Imagine receiving a single page report that succinctly describes the weather information most meaningful to you, indicates your current hurricane response plan phase and calculates when your next phase is anticipated to occur. Organizational confidence is increased up and down the chain of command because your business can operate as long as possible and your personnel know that you are using the best objective guidance data available.

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