We can’t predict the weather, except we know it is getting wilder and weirder. Hurricane Sandy has devastated the northeast coast. Most of us are ill prepared in case a tornado, hurricane, flood, fire or simple electrical outage hits our homes. Likewise, most businesses – and most homeowners associations – don’t even have an emergency preparedness plan.
Can you make time for disaster preparedness?
Red Cross research shows that every $1 invested in preparedness yields $6 in times of disaster. To help organizations get started, it has developed a readiness self-assessment tool called www.readyrating.org
This 120-question self-assessment isn’t a pass/fail tool. Instead, ReadyRating is a FREE program helps organizations understand where they are on the readiness continuum, and it gives them tools to improve. The program involves six steps:
- Commit to preparedness for your community or your property. This means getting your CEO and other top leadership committed to disaster planning.
- Conduct a hazard vulnerability assessment. George Sullivan, an expert in disaster preparedness for the American Red Cross says, “A lot of people write an emergency response plan based on something happened to someone else.” If you don’t know what hazards you face, call the American Red Cross which can help you assess risk.
- Develop an emergency response plan. “If already you have one, now is the time to revisit it and ask all the big ‘what ifs,’ such as ‘what if we’re no longer able to operate in this location?”
- Test your plan. An untested plan is not a real plan – so go ahead and plan those drills.
- Communicate about preparedness. Ask yourself, how can I make preparedness top of mind in my community, through newsletters and bill inserts.
- Help others. By definition, a commitment to disaster preparedness is a commitment to helping others – so once you go down this path, consider adopting a local school or church, hosting a blood drive.
Are you prepared for disasters? How?