Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Emergency Plan in Action

Last weekend when the remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through the Ohio Valley, many of us expected torrential rain and wind gusts for a brief period of time. Our hearts and prayers were with our sister Upic members in Galveston, TX as they began the cleanup from a devastating blow. But then the unexpected happened.
We were notified by our commercial data center provider that they were switching to their auxiliary power supply. In the seven years of being in this location, this was the first time this had occurred. Then over the course of the evening, we learned that 90% of the Cincinnati region was without electric power.
Fortunately, Upic had prepared for just such an occasion. All of our staff associates are equipped with mobile technology that permits them to work from any location with electric power and broadband Internet connections. Using this mobile technology, our staff members could attend to their personal situation and monitor our customer's needs via our web-based help desk portal. Our VOIP phone system allowed us to redirect calls to home phones or other landlines. And our Virtual Office platform allowed us (and our Cincinnati & Louisville members without power) to access work email and other business files from any broadband Internet access point.
On Monday, we put our Upic emergency plan into action. Some staff members had power and others did not. Three of our associates went to Patti's house to staff our e-pledge support line and to monitor help desk tickets. One went to work at his wife's office. Still another went to a public wi-fi hot spot. We notified executive sponsors at each of our hosted customer locations about our emergency plan and to let them know that their Upic hosted data was safe and accessible. We also communicated to our members and customers through regular updates on our website and blog pages.
Today, it's Wednesday and our office park remains without power. But, our situation is very different from our friends in the Gulf Coast. We're inconvenienced but safe. Our emergency plan was tested this week and it worked.
Having family in a hurricane zone (the photo above is our neighbor from a prior storm), I've seen first hand the shock and disbelief that such destruction brings. It takes months to fully grasp the magnitude of nature's fury and destruction. But, there is something in the human spirit that stirs when faced with insurmountable odds. We pray for our friends in Galveston, Houston and those along the Gulf Coast still meeting these challenges from previous storms.
History of Power Restoration (Cincinnati region)
Sunday, 6 p.m. --more than 720,000 out
Tuesday, 10 a.m. --546,155 out
Thursday, 6 pm --168,335 out

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