Repost “Be Prepared”

Sba_disaster_brochure In the wake of the recent hurricanes that hit the gulf coast and caused widespread damage well into the heartland, it may be a good time to repeat this post from December 5, 2007.  The links still work including the FEMA link which opens a link to another emergency planning booklet. 

Disasters come in all sizes and shapes.  While a structure fire can be considered a major disaster, help is usually available.  Other disasters like floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes stretch police, fire departments, and other rescuers to the limit and help may be slow in coming, if it comes at all.

The U. S. Small Business Administration and Nationwide Insurance have recently published a pamphlet called "Expect the Unexpected-Prepare Your Business for Disaster."  The ten-page guide emphasizes planning as the key to successful disaster recovery.

Some of the things suggested are common sense, some are more innovative.  But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of even the simplest steps once in a while.  One tip that I thought was particularly relevant for retailers was the issue of customers.  You may have a plan for taking care of your staff in an emergency, but what if the store is full of customers?  Where would you put them? 

The guide is broken down by the type of disaster, so if you’re on top of a mountain, you can probably skip the part about floods.  But, most of the ideas can be adapted for use in your particular case. 

There’s also a list of items to put in your disaster kit which should be easily accessible in an emergency.  Even if you don’t experience a major event, a flashlight, radio, and batteries and a blanket could come in handy if you have a simple power failure.  A separate set of basic tools and a first aid kit that are strictly for emergencies is also a good idea.   Even if you have all the items somewhere in the store, a centrally-located supply kit will make things a lot easier if you’re stumbling around in the dark.

The guide includes a number of links to good resources for your disaster and recovery planning.  Links include the American Red Cross, FEMA, The Department of Homeland Security, and others. A few minutes spent today could save money and even lives in the event that a disaster strikes.

This is one of those things that we may not think about because disasters only happen to other people.  But in this case, procrastination could turn out to be very expensive and potentially dangerous. 

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