Hurricane Irma: A Lesson in Emergency Planning
As Hurricane Irma made its way towards Florida, I realized that I had no Disaster Preparedness Plan. How could I have missed this important aspect of business planning? Prepare for unexpected to avoid becoming a FEMA statistic.
When someone asks me about my strengths, one of the first things that comes to mind is planning. I truly love the whole process of creating a long-term vision, defining strategy and mapping out a tactical plan to achieve success. But a few weeks ago, as Hurricane Irma made its way towards Florida, I quickly realized that I had no Disaster Preparedness Plan. How could I have missed this important aspect of business planning? As meteorologists predicted that Irma was headed for the Gulf coast, it was time to take immediate action.
40% of Businesses Don’t Survive a Disaster
According to FEMA, 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster. That’s why it’s important to create your emergency plan. Managing potential risk across both your business and personal life needs to be taken seriously. This risk is not just for coastal locations either as disasters take many forms: fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, terrorist attack, etc. When I lived in the Northeast, following Hurricane Sandy, we lost power for 6 ½ days even though we were over 100 miles from the coast.
Preparation is Key
I didn’t start preparing until Hurricane Irma was approaching, but fortunately, I still had time to address the critical items. But for many businesses, disaster strikes without warning. Take the following steps to ensure you’re not caught off guard:
What Happens if You Lose All Your Files?
As Florida braced for Irma - storm surge, flooding and wind damage were my key concerns. Anxiety turned to panic when I realized there was no records management system in place. It took hours to identify and re-locate important business and personal documents. Be sure to address both electronic and physical files to limit potential loss:
While a strategic plan is important to grow your business, not planning for the unexpected can suddenly end your business. Visit www.ready.gov for information and checklists to help you plan. Don’t let your business hopes and dreams become a FEMA statistic, create your emergency preparedness plan today
Diana is a content marketing strategist and virtual marketing director specialized in financial services. She has 20 years of marketing expertise, including campaigns for top brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Band-Aid.