Hurricane season is no joke. From Hurricane Katrina to Sandy – and countless storms before, after and in between – people have lost their homes, their businesses and some, even their lives, because of these violent and unpredictable storms. With high-speed winds, torrential rain and flash flooding, wind and water could be headed straight for the things you cherish most this hurricane season, so it’s important to take precautions and be prepared.

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season officially began on June 1 and runs through November 30, but in just a couple weeks, activity will spike.  This begins a roughly 8-week period from mid-August through mid-October, which is often the most active and dangerous time for tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic. In fact, this narrow window accounts for 78% of tropical storms, 87% of Category 1 and 2 hurricanes, and 96% of major (Category 3, 4, and 5) hurricanes. And many forecasters expect this 2017 season to be more active than historical averages, with 11 to 14 named storms expected for 2017.

Fortunately, you’re not alone when it comes to hurricane season preparedness. In states bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, resources are available to you through FEMA and local government agencies, and some private companies like The Home Depot may host free Hurricane Preparedness Workshops in your area. It’s important to tap these resources, plan your evacuation route, and have the tools at hand to shutter and protect your home and business should a storm make landfall. When a storm is imminent, most businesses and resources will be closed, so it’s critical to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

And what happens after the storm passes? For some, rebuilding and recovery can take months, even years. For others, debris and downed power lines are the only evidence of a storm at all. If your family, home and small business weathered the storm with little impact, your next goal is likely to work toward getting business back up and running. Cleanup in the aftermath of a storm can be overwhelming – from downed trees and branches, to flooding and broken windows. At the same time, you’re working with service providers to determine when their operations will be back up and running – from power to water to waste pick-up.

Rubicon’s Emergency Operations Coordination Team (EOC) focuses on hurricane preparedness and recovery from a waste perspective. The EOC supports customers in coastal and near-coastal regions by: monitoring the weather services for potential impact area(s) and storm severity; determining which customer(s) have locations within the areas of impact; and activating emergency operations, as needed.

What exactly do emergency operations entail when it comes to waste and recycling? Well, if mother nature gives us enough warning, the EOC will assess and coordinate the early emptying and onsite securing of collection containers in advance of the storm. And in the aftermath of a storm, if a customer’s primary service providers are impacted, the EOC will activate a Secondary Response Plan with assets from outside the potential impact area(s). Basically, the EOC battens down the hatches and devises a backup plan if the storm turns out to be real howler.

Rubicon Account Reps also provide situational updates to customers as the storm progresses and after it has passed. Reps provide detailed intel post-event and are prepared to provide Comprehensive Event Summary Statements (CESS).

Hurricane season is serious. From preparedness to recovery, it’s important to plan ahead and understand the resources available to you well before a storm hits.