Some of the problems I have heard of recently include flooding, extreme heat, severe storms and the high fuel prices. In addition, businesses are dealing with typical summer problems, such as potential power outages and preparing for absence of key personnel on vacation.
Flooding in the Midwest has affected numerous states, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Near record levels were recorded on lakes and rivers throughout the Upper Mississippi Valley. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the rising Cedar River burst through earthen levees, forcing the evacuation of thousands. Bridges were damaged, power knocked out and several hundred blocks in Cedar Rapids were underwater. The entire town was completely shut down.
It reminds me of the flooding that occurred along the Mississippi River in 1993. I spent a lot of time talking with business owners and taking pictures of damage around the St. Louis area. It was an eye-opening experience for many in the region.
I have also been hearing reports of the major heat wave along the Eastern Coast of the United States that occurred during the first weeks of June. Temperatures were ranging 10 to 20 degrees above average for the year. Many schools and businesses were closing early because of the heat. Others were worried about the higher cooling costs this year.
Severe storms and tornadoes have struck all across the nation this year. It has been a record-breaking year so far in the number of twisters and the number of deaths. Businesses in many states have been affected. In downtown Atlanta, a tornado made a direct hit. Numerous buildings, businesses and landmarks were affected.
Another concern this summer is the cost of fuel. It is affecting the consumer but also taking a toll on business owners and those in the airline and trucking industries. Small business owners, such as your local pizza place or florist, are being hit very hard. I have talked with many business owners and know they are struggling. Most do not want to raise costs but are having to do so in order to keep afloat in these tough times.
For larger organizations, telecommuting and four-day work weeks are becoming increasingly common as employees search for ways to cut their own fuel costs.
Airline travel is also becoming more expensive. Not only have prices risen but there are extra fees for baggage on some airlines. We’re doing everything here to keep our prices down for you to get to San Diego.
On top of this, businesses have to plan for summer vacations. It’s important that key personnel have a backup in place. Cross training of employees for a variety of jobs is also vital. Most organizations have basic plans in place, but it is always a good idea to review them before the height of travel season begins.
Businesses certainly have a lot of concerns during the summer months. It is critical that all these risks be assessed and addressed by business continuity professionals.
One great place to find information about risks and preparedness is DRJ’s Fall World 2008 conference. It will be held in San Diego, Calif., Sept. 14-17, 2008.
We are currently offering early registration discounts – which can greatly help your budget in these tough times. Sign up now because our fall show has sold out the past three years. We already have 575 people registered. You don’t want to miss your chance to get in on this great show and find out all you can about business continuity. Check drj.com for more details about this great show.
I hope to see you there!
"Appeared in DRJ's Summer 2008 Issue"