Batten Down the Hatches

My wife and I are getting ready for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene, just a few days since the East Coast earthquake. This is the time to “batten down the hatches” to prepare for the worst.

“To batten down the hatches” is a flavorful phrase. According to the dictionary, it comes from a nautical origin. If a ship was entering a storm at sea, the sailors would be told to “batten down the hatches.” Quickly they would scurry around closing doors and covering openings so that the rain and ocean waves would not get in and soak the cargo held in the ship’s interior.

In today’s rough economy, storms sometimes hit us without warning, before we have had a chance to batten anything down. Here are a few ideas for protecting your precious cargo in today’s choppy seas.

Think ahead. Have a plan in place for emergencies. What scenarios have you imagined? The process of “scenario planning” can be one of the most effective things your business can do today to get ready for disasters tomorrow.

Be vigilant. Learn to read the early warning signs. Minutes before this week’s East Coast earthquake, zoo animals started acting strangely. Great apes began to bellow, for example. What other early warning signs might you be missing?

Take action. Take steps right now to be ready for the crisis. For example, here is an update from the American Red Cross:

This Week’s Earthquake, Hurricane Remind Us to Be Prepared

Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast and its aftershocks—as well as the approach of Hurricane Irene—are a reminder of the importance of being prepared when disaster strikes. And while the Red Cross works hard to prepare communities and to respond to disasters, we also need to make sure that we and our families are prepared for emergencies. Just as a reminder, here are links to Red Cross earthquake and hurricane preparedness tips. You can also go to Android Marketplace and download a free “S.O.S. by the American Red Cross” app, which provides real-time care instructions, including how to perform Hands-Only CPR.

Right now, it’s a beautiful sunny Friday, not a cloud in sight. But we know that the hurricane is coming this way, due to arrive over the weekend.

The lawn furniture is stowed away. The outside hanging plants have been taken down. The porch chimes are now inside.

We have extra batteries, candles, matches.

Are we ready? We will see.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday August 26, 2011

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