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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Prepare Your Business For When Natural Disasters Strike

As the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th, I find this an excellent time to revisit preparedness for your business, your home and you personally. There are many issues for which you need to be prepared, and hurricanes are just one of the options listed. According to the Insurance Service Office, the top causes of insured disaster-related losses from 1993 to 2012 are as follows:
1. Hurricanes / Tropical Storms - $158 billion in claims
2. Tornadoes - $141 billion in claims
3. Winter Storms - $28 billion in claims
4. Terrorism - $25 billion in claims
5. Geological Events - $18 billion in claims

When you take into account all possible natural disasters, each of us is in danger of something, no matter in which part of the world you live, work and play. Whether you face hurricanes, tornadoes, snow blizzards or thunderstorms with lightening, are you, your business and your loved ones prepared? Per Ready.gov, only 57% of people report they have readiness items set aside for use in disasters; likewise, just 34% of people have readiness supplies in their automobiles, and less than half of households have an Emergency Plan created.

In this first post of my preparedness series, let’s talk about the steps you can take now to be ready:
- Determine what types of disasters are possibilities for your area.
- Decide where you will go and who you will contact for check-in should you have to evacuate.
- Make a list of what essential equipment must be taken from the premises as evacuating.
- Learn and practice how to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves.
- Locate your fire extinguisher and learn how to operate it.
- Find out where your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are located; mark on your calendar regularly replacing their batteries and learn which sounds indicate what.
- Establish from here employees can obtain important updates during an emergency situation, especially when and where to return to work if there is a satellite or back-up location.
- Decide how you will facilitate payroll in a disaster scenario.
- Keep your business’ policies and procedures in writing to be accessed from anywhere at any time.

If it is unsafe to go out, you might be stuck at work or your home; therefore, make sure you have the necessary supplies. Visit http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for what should be included in a disaster supplies kit and, then, start accumulating it all, storing them somewhere easily accessible yet secure. For more about what you need, click here for a video description, and take actions to get ready now.

As different natural disasters impact different areas of the globe in different ways, take time to peruse the details at http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters, paying close attention to what you need in the various scenarios that potentially impact your area. With each, though, power outages are regularly a by-product of natural disasters; therefore, prepare for potential power outages with these steps:
- Fill up your gas tank. Without power, the pumps don’t work.
- Visit your bank's ATM for cash. Credit and debit cards won’t work during a power outage.
- Charge your mobile devices and try steps from http://bit.ly/VcvO6u to conserve battery consumption.
- Keep on hand extra batteries for your flashlights so you are always ready to see in the dark.

Another excellent resource is at http://www.preparemybusiness.org/planning, from which you can obtain checklists for recovery overview, critical business functions to consider, assessing your risks, creating your emergency communications plan, phone recovery, your disaster recovery kit, winter weather preparedness, earthquake preparedness, tornado preparedness, wildfire preparedness, flood preparedness, hurricane preparedness, crisis communications to consider and much more.

Above all, though, make a plan, prepare for possible communication gaps, have the supplies you need on hand, keep what you’ll need remotely stored in the cloud and update everything regularly.

What natural disasters are issues where you reside? How have you prepared for those potential issues? What steps can you take now to be fully prepared?

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