As The VAR Guy tracks Hurricane Sandy's potential path up the U.S. East Coast, The VAR Guy is carefully mapping Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) locations throughout the New York Tri State area. The reason?

The VAR Guy

October 26, 2012

3 Min Read
Hurricane Sandy: Another Disaster Recovery at Starbucks?

mike semel

As The VAR Guy tracks Hurricane Sandy’s potential path up the U.S. East Coast, The VAR Guy is carefully mapping Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) locations throughout the New York Tri State area. The reason? When all else fails in IT, Starbucks’ WiFi networks and Internet access — powered by AT&T — are usually up and running. And that means the coffee chain’s retail stores have become disaster recovery hotzones for displaced employees — and bloggers — during natural disasters. But what should VARs do ahead of Hurricane Sandy? Disaster recovery expert Mike Semel (pictured), president and chief compliance officer at Semel Consulting, offers some great advice.

First, the background: During several recent storms The VAR Guy abandoned his darkened Long Island home and drove to higher ground — typically finding a Starbucks with free WiFi access. Oh, and a latte to warm the heart, sooth the soul, and fuel more blogging.

But what should VARs do head of Hurricane Sandy? Semel previously sent The VAR Guy some great advice. It focused on (A) keeping yourself safe first before (B) you start worrying about customers. Because if you’re not adequately prepared for the storm you won’t be in any type of position to help your customers.

A Simple Emergency Checklist

Semel’s checklist includes:

  • ____ Family Communications Plan – write down critical cell and landline numbers in case your phone dies; know where you will meet if cell towers and landline phones go out; designate an out-of-area relative everyone should contact if they can’t reach each other

  • ____ Cell phones – text messages use less battery and get through when calls can’t; external batteries are available to keep your cell phone powered when the internal battery dies; pack your car charger and home charger if you evacuate; extend your battery by turning off wi-fi and other services you aren’t using

  • ____ Computers—back up critical data onto external hard drives, thumb drives, or online services; if you have to evacuate take critical equipment with you or seal it in garbage bags to protect against water damage

  • ____ Water – Buy water or fill pots and pitchers with drinking water – 1 gallon per day per person; water systems may be contaminated and unsafe for drinking

  • ____ Food – non-perishable food you don’t have to cook

  • ____ Cash—credit cards won’t work if power and communications go down. Withdraw $ 200 – $ 300 so you can make purchases

  • ____ Automobile—fill your gas tank when you first hear a warning; gas pumps won’t work if power fails

  • ____ Evacuation – have a backpack or overnight bag with clothes, medications, sweatshirt and sweatpants; extra glasses, personal hygiene supplies; energy bars; emergency blankets (look in the camping supply areas of sporting goods or department stores); follow instructions to shut off water, gas, and electricity before you leave

  • ____ Hand-crank weather radio – these also charge cell phones through a USB cable. Purchase one at Lowes, Home Depot, Sam’s, Costco, or Wal-mart. Make sure the radio has SAME alerting so you will only receive alerts for your local area.

  • ____ Batteries – enough for flashlights, lanterns, radios

  • ____ LED lanterns—no need for fuel or mantles; safer than candles; some lanterns come with removable LED flashlights

  • ____ Common Sense – evacuate if your local government issues an order; don’t drive through flooded streets; stay away from downed wires

  • ____ Don’t panic — keep your cool for your own safety and your family’s

The VAR Guy appreciates Semel’s continued guidance. In the meantime, here’s to hoping Hurricane Sandy takes a turn out to sea.


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