Lessons for business from the #BCstorm

#BCstorm closes Surrey Night MarketLessons for business from the #BCStorm: were you prepared?

Unless you were totally disconnected from the digital world, turned off all radios and tv or in a coma, you were warned that heavy rainfall and wild winds were going to hit the Lower Mainland on Saturday.

Was your business prepared? If the power goes out or the streets in front of your business get blocked by trees, do you know how you will inform your clients?

How to respond

One of the biggest complaints I have heard since the storm is that B.C. Hydro’s web site went down so people couldn’t get updates. Hydro’s Twitter feed, @bchydro, was still working but they didn’t (or couldn’t) provide updates on when power was going to be restored in various areas.

The City of Vancouver twitter, @CityofVancouver, was excellent over the weekend: lots of updates and pictures and they retweeted other relevant agencies throughout.


Does your business have a social media plan to respond to service outages? Does that include what to do if you have to leave your premises?

One story from Facebook on the weekend from a friend in Edmonton: staff from a Port Coquitlam store called their Edmonton store to let them know they were closed by the authorities but had no way for staff to leave. Do you have a preparedness kit for your office?

Tech Disaster

With power being either out or flickering, this is where you see the value of having surge protection and/or UPS for your computer equipment. UPS, uninterruptible power supply, provides backup for a certain amount of time (depends on how expensive the unit and how much is plugged into it). Surge protectors and UPS also protect your equipment when the power suddenly comes back on.

Disaster Recovery

Do you have backups? Do you have off site backups in case your office is severely damaged?

As the winds starting whipping up the hill and I read on Facebook about more and more of my west end neighbours losing power and/or Internet, I started going over my disaster recovery plan.

  1. Make sure laptop and cell phone were fully charged.
  2. Make sure backups, both local and offsite, were completed successfully in the last 24 hours.
  3.  Get flashlight and hand cranked radio somewhere handy.
  4. Turned off every electric device I didn’t need.
  5. Be ready to advise clients in case I lost power and in case they lost power.

I stocked up on food and other necessities on Friday when I first read the weather warnings.

Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Or could you end up like the Surrey Night Market?