With National Preparedness Month being right around the corner, here are some valuable resources to prepare your business for severe weather and related emergencies.
National Preparedness Month (NPM) is just less than two weeks away (September), and there is no time like the present to establish a disaster plan for your business. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has recently revised its predictions for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, stating that this year could be the most active since 2012. According to the most recent report, forecasters are now predicting a 70% chance of 12–17 named storms this season, of which 5–8 are expected to become hurricanes, including 2–4 major hurricanes.
Around this same time last year, we reviewed the general points to cover when developing a disaster preparedness plan including general information on preparing your office, crews and clients for storms. Every year, National Preparedness Month provides us with an opportunity to not only develop a disaster plan for the first time, but to take time out to review our current plan. If you have a plan in place, it should be reviewed each year; update it as necessary and ensure that all employees are aware of the plan, procedures and steps that would need to be taken in the case of serious weather and/or a natural disaster. Whether you are developing a new disaster plan or revising your current one, there are a variety of resources and information available from several reliable organizations. Here are some links to get you started:
- OSHA – We all know that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration offers information and safety regulations for the workplace, but did you know that they have dedicated an entire webpage to Emergency Preparedness and Response? The section offers guidance for businesses on how to prepare and respond to such emergencies, as well as detailed tools and guides for variations in severe weather from tornadoes to floods.
- Ready.gov – This site is a great place to start when putting an emergency communication plan in place. It provides steps for making a plan as well as tools and templates designed specifically for businesses. This site provides more than just weather-related disaster preparation guidelines, and there is a menu to help you easily navigate through the information that pertains to your needs and business.
- CDC – The Center for Disease Control has also pulled together its many manuals and guides and will be an active participant in National Preparedness Month. Each week in September, it will be focusing its messages and products on emergency preparation for families, communities and workplaces. The website provides an extensive list of links and emergency response resources including management planning guides, facility protection and other resources for business emergency preparation.
- American Red Cross – The American Red Cross has developed a “Ready Rating” program to assist businesses and other groups prepare for disasters and various emergencies. Ready Rating is a bit of a one-stop-shop providing videos, evaluations and tools for improving disaster plans. Although it is membership-based, the program is free of charge and walks the user through steps to find the resources that are most useful to them.
- Small Business Administration – In addition to information on disaster loans, which can be obtained by businesses and homeowners in places that have been declared federal disaster areas, the SBA offers a range of emergency preparedness resources for businesses. From steps for creating a preparedness plan for your business to testing business systems and building disaster kits, the SBA offers easy-to-follow guides and links. That being stated, there will be some overlapping in resources already listed above including Ready.gov and the American Red Cross Ready Rating program.
- NOAA – Chances are that as a contractor, you are already staying ahead of the weather. No matter how reliable of a plan you have in place, it won’t be effective without being ready. Using tools like NOAA storm prediction center for tracking weather and staying current on the forecast will allow you and your clients to be ready for any serious or severe weather ahead.
Now that you have the resources to put a solid and comprehensive emergency plan in place, make sure to share the new information with your staff, crews and clients. By being prepared now, your crews and business will be secure and ready for any severe weather or natural disasters that may impact them in the future.
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