Hurricane Season is here, and with the arrival of natural weather events such as Tropical Storm Barry and previous disasters like Hurricane Harvey, being prepared for an incoming storm is paramount. Here are 10 steps you can do both at home and at the office to ensure that you are prepped and not panicked during a potential natural disaster:

1. Research on the risk.

Research what kind of prior environmental disasters happened near your home and office. Hurricanes do not just happen near coastal shores, regardless of the level of impact. Potential windstorms should be factored as well.

2. Your Evacuation Plan.

If you live in an area known for evacuations, be sure to have your plan to evacuate in writing with who is involved, where you're going, and how to get there. This does not always mean a long distance and needs to include pets.

3. Update your contact list.

Make sure all the phone numbers and/or email addresses for your emergency contact list are up to date before every hurricane season. Have a "chain of command" in your contact list for who to reach out to should disaster strike.

4. Forward your office phone number to a cellphone.

If you are going to be evacuating or expect an extended outage to where your office (or home) phone is unusable, be sure to route your calls to an available cellphone just in case.

5. Gathering Supplies.

Have supplies ready preferably before the season begins. Aim to have a week's worth of food and water, your prescriptions filled, radio, batteries, phone chargers, and a full gas tank ready for potential evacuation. Having cash on hand is crucial in the event of power outages or inoperable ATM machines.

6. Charge your cellphones, mobile devices, and portable chargers.

Ensure that all of your mobile devices and portable batteries are fully charged prior to the event. Portable USB battery packs are handy but will only last so long if they cannot be charged. Pack a hand-crank or a solar-charging USB charger (same with flashlights) just in case recharging is not an option. Also ensure your vehicle has a car charger for your devices if possible.

7. Take inventory of all computer and network equipment and cover with plastic sheets.

You can’t bring everything with you, so what does need to be left behind during a storm needs to be inventoried. Model Number and Serial Number collection is highly recommended.

8. Shut down and unplug unnecessary electronics.

Understandable that some devices may need to stay active during a storm, but any equipment that can be unplugged and moved to a secure location needs to be. Make sure to properly shut down, unplug, and cover critical equipment with plastic sheets if possible.

9. After the storm, check for water damage and power instability.

If the area flooded while you were away, do not power on any devices that have been wet or underwater. Make sure you have stable power when it is safe to plug your equipment back in. Constant flickering without proper UPS or power conditioning can damage your equipment.

10. Communicate!

Contact your loved ones, colleagues, and business clients just to assure that you are safe and that they are as well. Work with your IT team in getting your network back up and your Disaster Recovery plan in action for after the storm.

neoRhino is all about keeping your business and everyone in the community Houston Strong when the worst happens. If you are unsure about how to keep your business and its data safe during a disaster or more about our Disaster Recovery options within the Houston area and beyond, give us a call at (281) 779-4850 or (877) 85-RHINO.

Stay prepped, not panicked!