10 Ways to Prepare your Home and Office during National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month is being celebrated throughout the month of September. Spearheaded by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the Red Cross, this promotion is meant to bring awareness to families and businesses of the need to plan ahead and prepare for natural disasters. Here are ten ways you can prepare your home and office during National Preparedness Month.
Make a Plan
Get together with your significant other or the key stakeholders at your business and put down in writing what your plan is for preparing for a natural disaster. Included in this plan should be what you are going to do ahead of time to prepare your family and business before a disaster strikes, how often you are going to monitor these actions, and who is going to be in charge of all these steps. The more time you spend preparing your family and business to be prepared, the better everyone will respond when a disaster strikes.
Create a Disaster Kit
After you meet with the key stakeholders in your family or within your business, it is important to come up with a kit full of items you may need in the event of an emergency. There are many things you could include in an emergency kit. Food, water, batteries, first aid supplies, and possibly a generator are included in most kits. Determining what additional items need to be in your kit should be determined when developing an emergency plan. There should also be a timetable for when these kit is going to be inspected periodically. Nothing is worse than needing a first aid kit and all the medicine included in the kit is expired.
Having a plan for how you are going to get ahold of all family members, close friends, neighbors, employees, and customers. It is important to know what is the best way to get ahold of these people fast. Some people prefer a text, others prefer an email. Some people would prefer to receive a message through Facebook Messenger and some people still want to receive an old fashioned phone call. Knowing how to get ahold of the key people quickly is important. Practicing these modes of communication periodically is important to a smooth communication plan when a disaster strikes.
Practice the Plan
Periodically you should practice your plan from time to time and National Preparedness Month is a perfect time to do so. June is National Safety Month, and that is a great time to test run your plans at the beginning of the Summer. When you practice the plan within your family, the head of household should know it and attempt to communicate with everyone in the house. Talk about where you would go and what you would do if a disaster were taking place at this very moment. Within your business you should attempt to contact your employees periodically. This may be as frequently as once a month or once a quarter. No matter how frequently you decide to practice your readiness plan, it is important to practice and evaluate how the plan worked.
There are many ways to provide back-up power for your home and office. The type of back-up power you may need depends a lot upon where your family and business are located. If you live in Boston Massachusetts, you are more likely to be dealing with a Winter Emergency. may be dealing without power during a very cold period of time. In this case you may need to invest in a generator to keep your home and office heated while dealing without electricity. If you are located in a mild climate that does not face regular disasters like ice, hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes; you may be able to go without an expensive generator because you may not need it very frequently. This should be part of the discussion you have when coming up with your preparedness plan.
Protect Important Documents
Most families have important documents that may be necessary during an emergency response. In your personal life, you should keep the phone numbers of important people and organizations in writing. It is important to remember to keep these written down and not only stored in your phone. You may not have a charged phone or cell reception after a disaster. For that reason, it is important to have important phone numbers written down. You should also keep copies of the deed to your house, your businesses articles of incorporation, your passports, your insurance policies, and any other documents you may not be able to do with out during an emergency response situation. A fire-proof safe is always the best place to put these documents.
If you have lived through a natural disaster of any kind, one thing you will notice fairly quickly is that life in other parts of the country and the world keeps going on. This is especially important if you are a business owner who does business with other parts of the country and internationally. Your clients still accept products to be delivered and services to be done. It delays their business from operating if you cannot fulfill your promises during a time of emergency. Now in many scenarios there is little you can do to get back to work for a certain period of time. Most people you interact with will understand your situation, but the more you plan ahead for getting your business back up and working the quicker you can fulfill those orders. This will go a long way to keep valuable business relationships on even ground. It can actually be an opportunity to show your customers how much you value your business.
Having your financial life in order during a time of emergency can be very comforting to those who depend upon you. Keeping some cash on hand in the event businesses are not able to accept credit and debit cards is a wise decision. Keeping the the numbers to important financial records is equally important when the banking system gets back to work.
Most businesses store some amount of information electronically. Having a plan to keep access to those documents and to keeping those documents secure is crucial during a disaster. If you plan to back up these documents via the cloud or some third party management company, it is important to make sure those documents are safe. Taking time to discuss what issue may arise and how you plan to deal with them will give your customers an immense amount of comfort while they are dealing with a stressful situation.
Speak with Your Insurance Agent
Before a disaster happens, it is important to periodically sit down with your insurance agent to determine what types of insurance you do and do not need. They also can help you determine what documents you need to keep handy to speed up the insurance claims process. They can also help you know what types of pictures are necessary to help insurance underwriters promptly process a claim after a disaster.