June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season on the east coast of the United States (May15th for the West Coast in case your curious). Working in Florida, I call this the dreaded time of year for many reasons and none of them have to do with being afraid that a hurricane is going to wipe out my house.
First of all, it is the dreaded ‘Hey let’s dust off the old DR plan and update it!’ time, that really should be kept up to date year round, but I digress. Most people don’t realize this but very few storms actually hit the state as opposed to the coastal Carolinas. Now we tend to worry if a storm makes it to the Gulf because those are unpredictable but generally head to Texas or New Orleans. However if it stay in the Atlantic they generally head right up the continental shelf and hit the Carolinas or go right on out to sea. Generally. Yes we did get a couple about eight years ago and I do remember Andrew especially since I went to High School in Homestead. Please don’t take this the wrong way as those were devastating but generally and statistically we see very little action.
If you have lived here for any time you start to see a pattern every June 1st. The first being what I like to call local news panic. I live somewhat between Orlando and Tampa and for years we would receive both sets of local channels in our cable package and we were unique in that regard. That is how I formed this theory as well as living in Jacksonville and South Florida while growing up. Every television station in Florida like to set in the panic about three weeks before a storm is actually anywhere near the state. They lead broadcasts with Tropical Depression Ed is located 1 million miles from the lesser Antilles and is showing a direct path through your living room. Then during the 11pm broadcast they show the panic and hysteria at the Home Depot where all the transplants panic and try to buy up all of the generators and plywood, water and batteries from Wal-Mart, and any other supplies they think they will need. PANIC! Little does everyone know that Miami is showing a direct path to their city, Tampa shows it either veering into the Gulf and then to Tampa or cutting clear across the state to them.
I’ve learned one thing about transplants, they are scared to death of Hurricanes which makes me wonder why they moved to Florida in the first place. Generally every ten or twenty years we get a storm which helps perpetrate the hysteria because everyone remembers or knows someone who was in Charlie or Andrew. Do not misunderstand this post, Hurricanes are bad, very bad and we usually escape the major damage but we always get tons of rain which causes flooding, lots of lightning (as we are the capital), and boat lot of tornadoes. There is damage, but it is not the mass hysteria that the media generates.
There is also a different phenomenon in the workplace: complacency. After you have been here for a while and realize this media panic, it leads to complacency as you can probably tell by my tone in this post. Generally this leads to DR plans not being updated and data not being accounted for in a disaster. UPDATE YOUR DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN! SAVE YOUR DATA! Enjoy!