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Ready To Batten Those Hatches? Hurricane Season Begins Saturday
MADISON, Wis. (5/31/13)--As credit unions recover from May's tornadoes and last October's Hurricane Sandy, others are preparing for the 2013 hurricane season, which begins Saturday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is predicting a mixed bag for 2013, with extreme activity in the Atlantic and mild activity in the Eastern and Central Pacific Oceans. Its Climate Prediction Center indicates a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms in the Atlantic. Seven to 11 may become hurricanes. Of those, three to six may develop into Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, said NOAA.

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Credit unions that have survived a hurricane's wrath before are already preparing, and several leagues are updating their information.

For example, the Louisiana Credit Union League, whose credit unions have extensive experience with hurricanes including Katrina, said it has updated its website to feature these 2013 Disaster Preparedness Resources (eNews May 29):

  • Important contacts;
  • Education/training resources;
  • A crisis communication list for credit unions;
  • A credit union hurricane/flood/tornado preparedness checklist;
  • A branch re-opening checklist;
  • Credit Union National Association's Disaster Preparedness checklist;
  • A preparedness guide for credit union members;
  • Information on shared branching and business continuity from LA BEOC, Ongoing Operations and Agility Recovery, and more.
 (Use the links for more advice and webinars from CUNA Strategic Service Providers Ongoing Operations and Agility Recovery).

Even credit unions inland are taking more precautions than they may have in the past, given the 800-mile wide Superstorm Sandy, which swamped the Northeast in October. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association during April as part of Tornado Preparedness Month, featured an article on "A Culture of Preparedness."

In Sandy's wake, "we have seen that when disaster strikes, it may be several days or even weeks before disaster assistance can reach every organization," said PCUA (Life is a Highway April 10). "It is critical that credit unions prepare in order to recover themselves immediately."

PCUA cautioned against thinking disasters only relate to big events. "Don't just consider large weather events like hurricanes or tornadoes, but also blown transformers, improper construction digging and even automobile accidents," said PCUA.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted that hurricane awareness and preparation can reduce the impact of hurricanes and save lives. It outlines five steps in developing a preparedness program: program management, planning, implementation, testing and exercises, and program improvement. More detail on each step is provided at its website. Use the link.
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