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National Campaign Boosts Disaster Preparedness

Many businesses never reopen after a natural disaster, an industry group says.

By University Alliance on September 16, 2014
Disaster Preparedness in Spotlight

September is National Preparedness Month, a grassroots campaign led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that encourages residents and business owners to make contingency plans for disasters.

“Make disaster readiness manageable by taking one step at a time – start by learning your specific risk, then gather supplies for an emergency kit, and finally develop a family communication plan,” FEMA official Janet Odeshoo said in a statement.

To further this mission, FEMA is encouraging individuals across the country to participate in National PrepareAthon! Day on or around Sept. 30. The event is an opportunity for community members, organizations and businesses to prepare for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters through activities such as drills and group discussions.

Information on how to get involved, as well as a list of events planned for communities nationwide, is available on FEMA’s website.

Other organizations are following FEMA’s lead. The American Red Cross recommends that residents assess the types of disasters that could strike their community, create and practice a family disaster plan, ensure at least one family member has CPR or first-aid certification, and have an emergency preparedness kit.

The Red Cross suggests the kit contain:

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Medications (seven-day supply)
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Copies of important personal documents (medication list and health information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phones with chargers
  • Emergency blanket
  • Cash
  • Map(s) of the area

Several apps to help with disaster preparedness can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android devices by searching “American Red Cross.” FEMA also offers guidance on supplies that should be stocked in a disaster kit.

Preparation also can be the key to survival for businesses during natural disasters. About 25% of companies never open their doors again after such events, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website offers tips and resources for business owners on emergency preparedness, and disaster cleanup and recovery.

Category: 2014 Headlines