What do you do when the lights go out? Our New Jersey-based team got to answer this question “real-time” when Hurricane Sandy touched down in our area, followed shortly thereafter by nearly a foot of snow. When the going gets tough, the residents of the country’s most densely populated state get going. Here are just of few of the lessons we learned:
Cloud computing is great, except when you cannot connect to it. When all systems are lost without notice (next time, we promise to heed the weatherman’s warnings!), the importance of paper cannot be overestimated. Hard copies of contacts, databases and important files proved to be invaluable when internet connectivity wasn't feasible.
Smartphones can light up your life. Few would argue this point, even on a good day. When there’s no power and no communication from the world at-large, a smartphone can shed light – quite literally, in fact. Download a flashlight app to have light at your fingertips. Turn in on and point it toward a mirror for maximum illumination.
Thank heavens for Twitter and Facebook. At Devon, we’re social media junkies. But during the storms, we witnessed the true effectiveness of social media. With limited access to news (the newspaper only comes once a day!), Twitter and Facebook became our links to the outside world as well as critical sources of information about gas rationing, food shortages and disaster recovery programs.
How ready are you? Having just lived through waiting three hours for gas, visiting the local firehouse to recharge a cell phone, picking up the phone instead of emailing, cooking dinner in the outside fire pit, wearing layers of clothes plus a winter coat to bed – well, you get the picture. If the next hurricane plans on hitting the Jersey Shore, we’re ready with our new checklist: disaster recovery procedures – check; system failover schema – tested; generator and solar-powered chargers – ready; extra candles, lanterns, flashlights – purchased.
The biggest lesson learned from Sandy? Don’t sit around thinking that the electricity will suddenly turn on and things will be back to normal. It didn’t and they aren’t. Sandy demonstrated how fragile our power infrastructure can be and that the only way to get things done is to make ‘em happen: paper, snail mail, landlines, face time, and so on. It wasn’t so long ago that the world turned without technology and we proved that we have the ability to get things done, even without power.
For the record - despite the power outage and its related hardships - The Devon Group never skipped a beat!