The month of September is recognized by FEMA as National Preparedness Month. The general purpose is to promote awareness of disasters and provide planning tools to help mitigate damages. This year’s theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”
Whether it’s a pandemic, hurricane, flooding, tornadoes, or wildfires, disasters come in manner forms, each with their own set of circumstances that can cause major injuries and property destruction. Being prepared can help lessen the inevitable losses from these events.
Even with safety steps, such as mask wearing, practicing safe social distancing, and routine cleaning, the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading. With 7 million people in the U.S. infected with the virus and over 200,000 people have died, it seems planning is paramount to protection.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned this year’s Hurricane season will be extremely active and predicts 19 to 25 named storms.
Numerous wildfires have caused massive damage in California and Colorado, with wildfire smoke contributing to poor air quality. Add to these situations extreme heat, flooding, and tornadoes, the need for emergency preparedness is even greater.
Establish a Disaster Preparedness Plan
FEMA, under the National Preparedness Month, recommends the following steps to take to get a plan in motion.
1. Make a Plan
During a disaster it’s easy to get separated from family members, so be sure to make a plan and know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Be sure to create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers. Share this information with family members and, most importantly, practice. Hold regular household meetings to review the plan and make sure everyone understands the critical steps to ensure safety.
You can begin to create your plan here: Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan
2. Build a Kit
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
FEMA also recommends preparing multiple kits and storing them in at your home, workplace, and car for easy access.
3. Be Informed
To help limit the impact of a disaster, know the risks in your area. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert. to get emergency alerts, and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate.
4. Get Involved
Check with your local community about ways you can help your neighbors prepare for a natural disaster, as well. Consider volunteering to assist in efforts after a disaster and assisting in training programs to help prepare others.
Preparedness Planning for Your Business
Planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. Taking the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and know where to get aid if disaster strikes, could be critical to ensuring your business reopens.
According to the Small Business Association, an estimated 25 percent of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster.
The steps above also apply to preparing a plan for your business. FEMA recommends business owners take time to identify risks to your business and review necessary insurance documents, develop a written plan, and share with employees, train, and practice with employees to ensure everyone understands the plan.
We’re Here to Help
If you need help preparing a plan or updating your existing plan, we can help. Our services include: on-site safety program development and implementation, safety training online and in the classroom, facility safety inspections, OSHA inspection-related assistance, written health and safety programs, insurance loss control evaluations, construction safety consulting, and full-time project and facility safety management.