Comprehensive continuity of operations planning can help city officials keep residents safe when natural disasters strike.

Threat of natural disasters is perfect reason for continuity of operations planning

Without a comprehensive continuity of operations plan, cities and towns could suffer greater losses when natural disasters strike. It’s exceedingly crucial for residents and business owners to be aware of evacuation orders and understand how their actions can impact emergency crews. Thorough risk analyses and even instituting tabletop exercises can help ensure that areas will be able to react properly when the unexpected occurs.

Multiple tornadoes swept across Mississippi, damaging residents’ home and businesses alike. The Associated Press reported that 800 homes were damaged or destroyed in the southern part of the state.

The University of Southern Mississippi also had several buildings impacted from the storms. Most of the school’s damages are expected to be covered by a $500 million insurance policy, according to to the Associated Press. However, The College Board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds to sign contracts and take other actions without board approval to help the school recover.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday declared a federal disaster in Mississippi. The National Weather Service reported that maximum winds reached 170 mph and the storm forged a path three-quarters of a mile wide.

Charlotte Waters, who lives in a neighborhood also hit by the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast, described her experience to CBS News.

“It came through like a freight train. I always heard it sounded like a train. It sounded like Katrina,” she said.

Wayne Cassell, another Mississippi resident, told the news source that he and his friend sprinted from the house and made it into the conduit as debris flew around them. He explained that, had they wasted even seconds, he did not think they would have made it.

When city officials partner with business continuity consultants, they can ensure that a comprehensive evacuation plan can be created to keep residents safe when disaster strikes.