Florida has its eye on hurricanes

Ryder System has its own hurricane tracking software and subscribes to a communication system that sends word out to employees worldwide.

Crowley Maritime has a backup yard for its shipping containers in Gulfport, Miss., and has developed new steps to secure its terminals when a storm approaches.

And Pollo Tropical has switched this year from walkie-talkies to texting emergency messages to senior managers who need to mobilize teams to address a disaster.

“As the forecasting becomes more sophisticated, so too have the tools we use,’’ said Kim Miller, vice president of marketing for Pollo Tropical.

Hurricane preparedness has become a science for companies throughout South Florida — and even more importantly, for those that have multiple operations or facilities in vulnerable areas throughout the hurricane zone. After suffering through storms like Katrina, Wilma and Andrew, many companies say they have improved their communications and emergency preparations.

“A lot of what we learned from Katrina was how to better secure the terminals, and the necessity of moving things off the terminals,’’ said Jay Brickman, vice president of government services for Crowley Maritime Corp., at Port Everglades. Its terminal employs 200 on an 85-acre site with dock facilities, container storage, administrative offices, marine offices and repair facilities.

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