An Update as the DRT Prepares for Hurricane Florence

An Update as the DRT Prepares for Hurricane Florence

By Matt Richards

As Hurricane Florence approaches the eastern United States, we activated the Datto Disaster Response Team (DRT).

The DRT was launched in 2017 to assist partners with boots on the ground, supporting recovery efforts after major disasters, such as a hurricane. The team has three basic missions when deployed: take inbound requests from partners, reach out to all partners in the area, and help the local community. Currently, the DRT is preparing to travel to North Carolina to set up a command center close to the anticipated storm path.

Before all else, we must ensure it makes sense to deploy. We look at the storm path, severity, scope, and scale of the disaster to determine whether we can help. For example, the more likely infrastructure, like FedEx or UPS, is to be out of service, the more it makes sense to deploy the DRT truck with equipment and techs. As we prepare to respond, we then need to pick a staging location out of the direct path of the storm but close enough for us to respond quickly with support.

Picking a staging location is art and science. We look at the concentration of our partner base and overlay that on the anticipated path of the storm. We look at the geography and population centers. The safety of the DRT and our partners is paramount, and we take various factors into consideration as we choose a staging area. These include proximity to major highways, transportation hubs for resupply, access to fuel, and a sound location to set up a base of operations. All of this and more comes in to play.

With any storm, the one constant is change. It’s imperative that we stay on top of the forecast as we prepare to deploy, to ensure we don’t become part of the problem for first responders. In fact, we consider the DRT a tertiary response mechanism. First responders are police, fire, and rescue. Second responders are utilities such as power and water. We are tertiary responders, we help after lives and homes are safe, and business once again becomes a concern. That’s when we want to be on hand to help partners get their businesses back up and running.

Based on forecasts and current conditions, the DRT will stage in Roanoke, VA on Thursday this week and jump off from there. Of course, this can all change rapidly as Florence approaches. You can track the progress of the team through the Datto Twitter handle with the latest updates, observations, and insights. If you’re a Datto Partner in need of assistance, please call Datto Tech Support directly at (877)-455-6015 or email the DRT at to make device and support requests.

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