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How to Prepare for Disaster

September is National Preparedness Month.

Even as I type those words, it feels like I am “a day late and a dollar short” because of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation in Houston.  However, there are now fires in the Northwest, flooding in the South, and another hurricane quickly approaching the East Coast. So, preparing for disaster is important for all of us. Forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, sink holes, technology malfunctions, acts of terrorism, and other types of natural and personal disasters can strike at any time.  The time is now to prepare for disaster at home and at work.

The pictures of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey are heart-breaking. It was difficult for me to stop watching the recues and newscasts last week. Most of us do not like to think about a tragic event  striking our home or business.  So, we fail to get ready for one.  Making plans, gathering supplies, and setting up your technology correctly can really help you in the event of a disaster. Communicating plans, developing evacuation methods, and planning meeting points can prevent a huge amount of frustration and stress on families and workers.

Prepare Your Business for Disaster

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 40% of businesses never recover after a disaster. Therefore, developing a Disaster Recovery plan is essential for every business owner. DHS has developed an outline you can use go to help your business and employees prepare for disaster.  You can read more on these details and checklists here https://www.ready.gov/business.

Prepare Your Home and Family for Disaster

There are so many things to consider if you have to evacuate your home.  So, DHS has also developed similar plans and checklists for families.  The Ready.gov site also has a complete index of things to consider when developing a plan for evacuating your family.  For example, there are lists and plans included for preparing seniors, disabled individuals, pets, etc.  There is also a checklist for building an emergency preparedness kit on this page.  They recommend building these kits and keeping one at home, work, and in the car.

Prepare Your Technology for Disaster

Technology preparation is also important for all of us.  What information would be lost if your home computer or laptop was destroyed?   Are your passwords accessible?  Do you back-up your computers, phones, and tablets regularly?  Can you access your auto, homeowners and business insurance policies?  These questions and more can help you prepare for disaster.  Scanning and storing key documents and photos in a cloud based application like Evernote ™ will give you peace of mind if disaster strikes.  Critical information regarding medications, phone numbers of emergency contacts, and passwords will be necessary in an emergency.  You can store this information and more in the cloud or a jump drive to take with you in your emergency kit.

Start working on your plans today by visiting the Ready.gov site. If you need help creating, communicating, and implementing your emergency plans, Configuration Connection can help.

If you are interested in donating to the victims of Hurricane Harvey or any natural disaster, I recommend donating through UMCOR where 100% of your donation goes to the victims.

Sara Genrich is an Organization and Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator fo the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop.  

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