Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: It’s time for an emergency preparedness plan for your life and business

Hurricane Irene was a year ago almost to the day before Hurricane Sandy which assaulted the northeast corridor of the US the end of October of this year.

After going through Hurricane Irene, many people, including me thought that it was a hundred year event.  After all, the northeast had gone through a series of unusual climate events in less than a year.  Even my little grandson remarked, “I’m only 8 and I’ve already seen an earthquake, a tornado and a hurricane.  What’s next”?

It was hard to predict then that in 12 months we would see another hurricane in our area but much worse.  Hurricane Irene and a series of summer storms helped to mitigate the damage we could have experienced to our home from Hurricane Sandy.  Many unstable trees and large branches located behind our home had already fallen.  We were fortunate to have only experienced minor roof damage.

Have you done any emergency preparedness planning?

Earlier in the year my husband and I were motivated to take disaster training because of the major climatic events to give us personal knowledge and control. We took part in the CERT (Citizen’s Emergency Response Team) training course this summer to become a part of the citizen’s emergency responder team and learn how to behave in emergency situations.  We had taken the one day training seriously and distributed booklets to our friends and family.  Follow up actions which we took seriously required completing a Emergency Preparedness Plan which we I did.  Some of our family and friends laughed when we told them of the training and gave them the information.  Guess who looked at the booklets recently? My husband and I had no idea that the kits we received from our CERT training would be needed so soon.  It was comforting knowing that we were prepared.

It’s time for an emergency preparedness plan for your life and business. Sometimes disaster can strike and it is no fault of your own.  Like Job experienced in the Bible – you may just have to endure.  Do your best to be prepared.  It helps to increase your own knowledge about particular issues when you notice that there is a pattern of events or issues that may impact you directly.  Knowledge and a plan of action are empowering and can become an aid in the event that the unthinkable happens.

In our businesses we all have potential areas of disaster.  There is no way to plan for all of them but there is a way to prepare for them.  What areas is your business most vulnerable? Do you have a crisis management plan? Now is the time to evaluate where you are with your business.

Your emergency plan for your business would include what you do personally but include backup and plans to address your business properties.  In addition your plan should include business continuity if you loss access to your office.  Do you have computer back up?  Customer lists?

A good guide for small business emergency planning is, A Blueprint for Emergency Preparedness, by the Small Business Continuity Task Force of New Jersey’s Department of Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission.  This brochure provides many tips and resources for small businesses to be prepared for disasters and minimize disruption.  I have saved this brochure electronically for easy reference.

There are some disasters like Hurricane Sandy that can obliterate the best plans.  Advance emergency planning for business and in life helps minimize damages and downtime when there is destruction.

Now’s the time for emergency preparedness planning for your life and business. If you don’t have emergency plans for your family, now is the time.  If you don’t have an emergency plan for your business, do it now.


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