Every summer, my family spends two weeks on Cape Cod in Massachusetts in the town of West Dennis. My wife and her family have been coming here for almost fifty years. I've been working from here each day and taking occasional breaks to spend time with family.
Monday night all our mobile phones received an emergency alert. It was a tornado warning, instructing us to seek shelter immediately. This was quite a surprise as tornado's are so rare in New England, let alone the Cape. We are staying in two different cottages and a nearby Inn. We gathered everyone into the lowest cottage with the least exposure. As there was no basement, we huddled under the stairs in the center of the house until the warning cleared.
Tuesday morning another tornado warning came across our phones. Again, the instruction was to seek immediate shelter. Monday night turned out to be a dress rehearsal for an actual tornado touchdown. This picture is a water spout on the Bass River in South Yarmouth, one mile to our west. A mere quarter mile to our east is one of the reported touchdown locations for the tornado. The latest reports indicate that the tornado lifted and passed over us generating 90 MPH straight line winds. Whatever it was, we were in the thick of it, but the trusty little beach cottage built in the 1930's kept us safe. The winds were reported to reach 110 MPH. The wind was circling the cottage. The noise was intense and there was a moment when the cottage shook violently, but it didn't yield to the storm. I'm happy to say that everyone is fine. There were no injuries reported, but there is extensive damage throughout the area. We lost power for over thirty hours.
With several client projects underway, I found myself cut off from my clients. The cell towers were overwhelmed and service was intermittent for hours. I heavily leverage Office 365 for my business. As a result, any work I had done was automatically synchronized to the Cloud. Any work I was able to do offline, would also be synchronized once Internet access was restored. Between text messages and email messages to my clients, I was able to alert them to my situation. I was able to reschedule meetings and deadlines. I wanted to be sure my clients were informed.
I always have two charged batteries in my bag. This allowed me to keep my phone charged and connected. While I was not able to operate as efficiently as usual, I was able to remain in contact with my clients. I was able to let client and family know my family and I were safe and update work in process. While not a large scale business continuity event, it was an unexpected test. I am pleased that my operational strategy for my consulting business worked well. I was able to pass this unexpected test.
Is your business prepared to survive an unexpected business continuity event like this? If you're not sure of the answer, you better make time to find out. If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out.