Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New York City – a suddenly quiet city awaiting the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy’s fury today- Post # 3

New York, NY – Monday, October 29, 2012 – 20:00 ET

Ralph Petti, MBCI,CBCP
The storm has arrived. 
The local weatherman has just said that “the wind is really starting to affect the city”.  Most roads are deserted and, from our Upper East Side apartment, we can hear the crashing of everything from trash receptacles to the screams of teenagers dancing between the driving raindrops.  There is nowhere to go, as there are only two tunnels open – one to New Jersey, and one to Queens. Fire engines are racing by and we wonder where they are going.  The sound fades away; so, not here.
With all three major airports closed with 100 MPH winds in the area, there are 9,000 flights canceled.  The official landfall of the center of the storm was in Atlantic City, NJ – soon in need of a brand new Boardwalk after struggling to survive wave heights of 30 feet or more.  The lights continue to flicker. 
So, what is there to do?  I called a friend who is an Oncologist who told me that he had to cancel his schedule for a few days due to the storm and the roads being closed.  Does he have a plan?  He said that he would seriously consider one next week when we spoke again.  I spoke to the Building Management representative and they will advise when they hear from their regional authorities.  
Looking back, what more could we have done?  As an individual, we are all set.  Collectively, as professionals, some are serving on CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) and other local groups, as I am a volunteer for the American Red Cross.  As professionals, we have an obligation to talk to people and to make them understand what more that they can do – or, could have done.  Now is a wonderful time to get people’s attention to focus on what we do for our careers.  There are so many resources available to everyone – and no reason that four of ten businesses experiencing a disaster go out of business, unless they have a plan. 
The storm is at its peak now. With the lights in our apartment flashing, the newsman says that power brownouts are occurring so that there is not a massive outage. The cascading of power outages could serve to create more permanent outages than any of us would want.  There are no personal generators in New York City, just a neighbor to exchange pleasantries over a glass of wine – and a flashlight.
Ralph Petti, MBCI, CBCP is the President of Continuity Dynamics, Inc., an international firm focused on the areas of risk management, business continuity and disaster recovery planning. As a Member of The Business Continuity Institute, he is now sequestered in an apartment Manhattan’s Upper East Side with water and a myriad of supplies and is waiting for the storm to strike the NYC area tonight.  Mr. Petti has already been a guest subject matter expert on The Fox Business News Channel and is now sending frequent updates to The BCI. Reach him at Ralph.Petti@ContinuityDynamics.com or at 908.310.6381.

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