Continuity Centers

Boost disaster awareness, plan for National Preparedness Month

This September is National Preparedness Month, a FEMA initiative encouraging community leaders, business owners and citizens throughout the United States to boost their collective disaster recovery IQ. While planning may take different forms in these each of these contingents, the message remains intact across the board: No one is exempt from the devastating effects of a natural disaster, and everyone must take measures to ensure a safe, smart and speedy plan is in place, if and when such an event does occur.

Details of a disaster
FEMA has created a wide range of materials to saturate the nation’s communities and businesses with information to build awareness during National Preparedness Month. For instance, the organization developed hazard profiles running the gamut from earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to tornados, wildfires and winter storms. Recognizing the dangers of each individual phenomenon and the regions in which they are most likely to occur can help participants better prepare themselves for a crisis situation. Knowledge is power when it comes to disaster preparedness.

The campaign’s slogan, “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” is a strong reflection of the philosophy behind this approach, emphasizing the importance of proactive decision-making in the realm of disaster planning. Organizations, towns and cities can’t wait until a crisis is upon them to build a haphazard emergency strategy – thinking two steps ahead of the next storm, quake or fire is the only way to ensure that these events are navigated with confidence and calm.

A focus on business
Because it is responsible for promoting sound disaster preparedness in nearly every corner of the country’s infrastructure, FEMA can’t leave a single stone unturned when it comes to laying out best practices, offering guidance to decision-makers and providing support for communities in need. That’s not to say the organization hasn’t structured a specific preparedness model for businesses, however. In fact, FEMA’s ‘Prepare My Business’ website holds a wealth of valuable resources for companies that want to assess, develop and even overhaul their disaster planning outlooks entirely.

There are countless compelling reasons for business leaders to take this opportunity and strengthen their disaster recovery profiles. Aside from the immediate structural and material damages that must be addressed soon after an event occurs, executives must factor in the long-term costs of missed business opportunities that accumulate every second they take to bring their operations back online. Agility Recovery pointed to research in a recent infographic explaining 40 percent of businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.

Prepare with expert allies 
The executive board can likely tackle the projects of risk assessment and hazard identification fairly easily, but not all companies can rely completely on their own resources and expertise to deliver the goods when it comes to an actionable recovery strategy. In the spirit of National Preparedness Month, business leaders should consult with seasoned business continuity and disaster recovery solutions providers to help them bring their blueprints to life. By bridging the gap between planning and execution, C-level members and stakeholders can finally achieve the peace of mind they want.

Of course, an alliance with a third-party provider must be approached with as much focus and effort as any internal initiatives, especially in the first stages of the consultation. Executives must sufficiently convey their planning requirements, describe the most common threats that face their operations and continually evaluate their strategies as their organization changes over time. Viewing recovery as an ever-evolving strategic component rather than a quick, Band-Aid fix is often the key that separates effective plans from those that fall short when the going gets tough.

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