Businesses “must plan and always be prepared” for emergencies and strategize to guarantee the continuity of operations in the wake of a natural disaster.
Ernesto Morales, responsible for the National Weather Service Emergency Notifications, Economist Carlos Colón de Armas, Benjamin Nieves, expert in public safety and emergency management, and WorldNet Telecommunications Commercial Director Javier Santos, participated in a panel discussion during the “Business Continuity Summit,” focusing their presentations on planning as the engine of an operation and the island’s economy.
“Although the hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30 of each year, the preparation should begin on Jan. 1 and end Dec. 31. Preparation is ongoing work,” Morales said after saying Hurricane María had a greater impact because many Puerto Ricans did not know the effects of a disaster like the one that occurred in 1928.
If each company or business prepares, it should avoid facing major complications since the National Weather Service makes intensity forecasts and announces the path of storms that people may follow, Morales added.
Meanwhile, Colón de Armas presented the relationship between natural disasters and economic development from a different perspective from what the typical indicators that measure the economy, such as disbursements and cash flow. Instead, he focused on other indicators such as loss of life and property.
“There is no correlation between a territory receiving money and economic growth. We must be prepared. An emergency can mean something good, economically speaking, but only if one is prepared,” said Colón de Armas.
“It can result in improvement, in profits, but that does not happen by chance, you have to be prepared,” he said to the audience of about 150 executives.
During his presentation, Nieves relived, through a video, the direct effects of Hurricane María to expose the need for planning and the timely development of emergency plans to ensure the business operations.”
During his presentation, he also discussed what titled “New strategies and solutions … preparing for María Part II,” a concept that arose after the lessons of the 2017 hurricane and that highlights the dependence on technology.
“The operations of any business don’t have to collapse, there’s no reason to have losses, there’s no reason to close when we all have the solution: planning,” said Nieves, who also presides ISP, a Puerto Rican company dedicated to public safety and emergency management for more than 25 years.
“The problem arises when you don’t plan because you expose yourself to the unexpected and that can affect any company no matter the size,” he said.