Planning for the Multiple – Natural Disaster Preparedness

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Understanding the impacts natural disasters can have on businesses, schools, and homes is imperative to preparedness. The number, types, and severity of natural disasters have increased overtime; last year the NOAA determined 2017 was the costliest year to date in terms of natural disaster destruction.Storm Clouds over Charleston, South Carolina

We’re witnessing disasters strike new geographies with highly populated locations. Populations in the Northeast are not equipped to handle severe hurricanes and communities in the South are not prepared to handle winter storms; yet we are seeing like disasters strike these areas. Now, more than ever, we must be prepared for every type of disaster.

In an interview with Emergency Management Magazine, Firestorm co-founder and Novume President, Harry Rhulen reiterated the important learning lessons from last year’s deadly hurricanes: Proper disaster preparedness and response means planning for multiple disasters, not just one. “It’s one of the most important things to account for – when you are doing business continuity and disaster planning, in general, you should assume multiple events.”

The impact of a crisis (the flooding after Hurricane Harvey, for example), can lower an organization’s ability to handle secondary crises (the spread of illnesses through the contaminated flood water). Identifying vulnerabilities, in addition to secondary crises before a disaster strikes, is essential to survival and recovery.

The Time to Plan is NOT When a Disaster is Occurring

Natural disasters are usually unexpected, and we have very little warning. The time to prepare and plan is before an event. Organization leaders should not only think about their employees, but also their employees’ families. This level of caring and compassion resonates with employees and creates loyalty to the organization itself. Being prepared provides employee confidence and reduces anxiety. This becomes very important in times of disaster. Learn more about preparing your organization for disaster.

To further prepare your organization, you must train your employees how to prepare at home. During a disaster, family trumps work. An employee who is prepared at home will be better prepared at work. Download our book, Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America to learn more. The book specifically addresses the need for crisis and disaster preparedness at home and has become a cornerstone of many corporate preparedness programs.

To further assist employees in and out of the workplace, Peter Tesch of Church Mutual lists his top best free resources to use to prepare for emergencies. Peter is an insurance professional and a trained weather spotter. “I have seen lots of claims numbers over the past 16 years but learning about severe weather events and preparing for spotter activation has taught me so much more about how truly important it is to be prepared and have plans to put in place at a moment’s notice.”

  • The National Weather Service Weather Safety section covers 19 different weather-related topics. Each section provides valuable information and links to additional resources to help you learn how to be prepared.
  • Weather Protection for Your Organization is a handy 15 page PDF full of helpful tips and short checklists on preparing for a variety of seasonal weather events. It is one of the 11 areas covered by the Church Mutual Insurance Protection Series™ in the Safety Resources section.
  • The Storm Prediction Center is an excellent resource that provides real time information on current weather activity, forecasts, watches, outlooks and a vast array of research, educational and historical information. As a spotter I rely on the mobile site daily especially when severe weather is in the forecast.
  • NIXLE is a service that provides text notifications from participating public service organizations that I have been using for a number of years. It has worked well on many occasions.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer weather spotter to help in your community, find information on the current training schedule.

We must remember that every crisis is a human crisis. Learning from last year’s crises and understanding the human element of a disaster enables organizations to recover faster.

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