Hurricanes are among Mother Nature's most powerful and destructive weather events. According to the National Weather Service, over a typical two-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of three hurricanes, one of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 miles per hour or greater). In support of the FedCash® Services mission, the Federal Reserve ensures there is a ready supply of currency to financial institutions in times of stress. But the resiliency of the cash supply chain is in the hands of all its participants. Cash supply chain participants work together to ensure that enough cash is available in a disaster area to meet increased demand.

For this year’s hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, below are five suggestions to help your organization prepare for potential service disruptions.

1. Begin planning early and stay informed during an event

If you haven’t already, the start of the hurricane season is high time to review business continuity plans, checklists and processes to be ready for potential disruptions. Review your business continuity plan with employees so that they are familiar with the response plan. Work with your cash team to identify any potential gaps in training, incorrect contact information or outdated processes. Work with others throughout your organization (such as security, facilities, corporate business continuity, etc.) to ensure your objectives and efforts are aligned and clear. These other departments may also be coordinating with Reserve Bank colleagues. Other preparations may include identifying local hotels for your employees to take shelter during the event, provisioning supplies in case you have to shelter in place and identifying an alternate work site.

The National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center (Off-site) website is a good resource for staying informed about storms with the potential to strengthen into more powerful and destructive tropical storms or hurricanes. You can also add the website’s RSS feeds (Off-site) to your email client and follow the Center on social media.

During the event, check websites, social media, local television stations and other local resources that provide information and assistance in securing public safety. These resources may include the local fire department, emergency medical services, public works and local law enforcement. Stay informed about law enforcement activities and be prepared to follow public safety instructions, such as taking alternate transportation routes. Designate staff to monitor the event and provide regular status updates.

2. Maintain good relationships with your key industry partners

As in any event, good working relationships with your industry partners are crucial. Discuss potential impact, key considerations and appropriate response actions with your servicing Federal Reserve Bank and armored carriers as part of your planning. Ensure that you have up-to-date contact information for your key servicing Reserve Bank and armored carrier contacts. During an event, maintain open communication channels with them and notify them of changes in your operating status, hours of operation or use of an alternate site.

3. Make employee safety your first priority

Always remember to make the safety of employees your first priority. Encourage your employees to prepare at home following recommendations at www.ready.gov (Off-site). Discuss potential response actions with your management team in case it is unsafe for your employees to leave the building or get back in. Notify essential employees of your response plan as much in advance as possible and consider advising your non-essential employees to work from home. Review your plans for evacuations, sheltering in place and sheltering outsiders. Ensure you have employees’ current contact information with you. If necessary during the event, touch base to check on employees’ safety.

4. Review and bookmark Federal Reserve business continuity resources

In late 2017, the Federal Reserve launched the redesigned FRBservices.orgSM website. Please ensure that you replace your bookmarks with the new links below.

5. Become familiar with the Federal Reserve outage communication channels

  • Service Status: During a disruption, updates for all services, including FedCash, are posted here. This page is your primary source of information during business continuity events. As necessary, the update may include potential changes to Reserve Bank dock hours or instructions on alternate ordering options if the FedLine Web® Solution is unavailable. We recommend that you bookmark this page.
  • FedLine® Home: During a disruption, we may post messages to FedLine Home with information about the event. FedLine Home is accessible by End User Authorization Contacts (EUACs) and FedLine Subscribers.
  • Email: The Federal Reserve may send updates to targeted audiences via email during high-impact events.
  • Cash Services District Contact Information: Check the business continuity page of your servicing Reserve Bank’s public website for additional information and guidance.