AWS Public Sector Blog

Heading into Hurricane Season

June 1st marks the official start of Hurricane Season. This time of year brings strong winds and powerful lessons in preparedness.

To support our customers, the AWS Disaster Response Program provides a set of services that enables the disaster response community to easily leverage the benefits of AWS during disasters – whether it is a typhoon, earthquake, or fire. With the AWS Disaster Response Program, governments and nonprofit organizations worldwide can take advantage of technologies and expertise to tap into the on-demand infrastructure of AWS at the edge and in the cloud – for resiliency planning and disaster response – like architecting a business continuity plan built in the cloud to ensure continuity of government, or like spinning up a virtual call center that expands on-demand and staffing it with volunteers and deprovisioning the service as soon as demand subsides, or like leveraging Amazon SageMaker to more rapidly analyze geospatial data to assess damage.

For example, one year ago, following the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) facility hosting some of the agency’s critical datasets was at risk of being impacted by the volcanic lava flow. The USGS determined the risk to the facility was too high and reached out to the AWS Disaster Response Program for assistance in quickly migrating their critical datasets to the cloud. AWS responded by shipping an AWS Snowball Edge device overnight to the USGS facility, where USGS staff were able to quickly download critical datasets from their on-premises servers onto the AWS Snowball Edge. Once the data transfer was complete, USGS was able to easily and securely ship their data on the AWS Snowball Edge to an AWS Region of their choice. AWS then uploaded the data from the device into USGS’ environment running on AWS.

The Disaster Response Program team collaborates across AWS and Amazon to leverage technical assets and expertise for customers’ disaster response efforts. Last year, we stood up a virtual call center through Amazon Connect to support the American Red Cross’s efforts during Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas in September 2018. Employees as far away as Singapore volunteered by facilitating calls for the Red Cross.

The AWS Disaster Response Program also works proactively with governments to prepare communities in advance of potential disasters. So don’t wait until the storm hits, get prepared today. Reach out to the AWS Disaster Response team for more information on how you can be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

From availability zones and contingency planning to data transfer and disaster response, learn more about disaster preparedness for any type of disaster in Jeff’s blog post here.

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector Blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).