Summer is over and the Labor Day celebrations that marked the end of summer should also serve as the kickoff to National Preparedness Month. Although the program has been in effect for a decade, President Obama only recently recognized the month of September as the time to make sure we are prepared for natural disasters, whether that means hurricane, flood, fire, tornado, earthquake, wildfire, etc. In his 2013 disaster readiness proclamation, the President explained,
“By planning for emergencies, individuals can protect themselves and their families while also contributing to their communities’ resilience. During National Preparedness Month, we refocus our efforts on readying ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our Nation for any crisis we may face.”
Beyond simply buying insurance, businesses have additional responsibilities to act as leaders on organized readiness activities. The Center for Disease Control pointed out that more than 3,000 organizations across the country are already promoting disaster preparedness programs.
Here are three quick and simple things that businesses can do right now to jumpstart readiness:
- Visit Ready.gov for information packets on disaster preparedness put together by FEMA and the Ad Council.
- Watch the short video Get Your Business Ready for Disasters for an overview of the program that can be shared with employees.
- Review regulations that establish minimum requirements for a business readiness program along with exercises to test specific aspects of program effectiveness at FEMA’s business readiness site.
Business owners and corporate readiness advocates can also download sample forms from Ready.gov to help them prepare for emergency response and business continuity.
With the news reports full of stories related to climate change, super storms and extreme weather, it is more important than ever to promote awareness on preparing for the unexpected.
Sandy was certainly a wake-up call for New York and the insurance industry. As useful as it is to assess the effectiveness of hazard mitigation measures and catastrophe response following Sandy, it is at least as useful to consider a what if…. What if Sandy had been a repeat of the Long Island Express in 1938? Damage and flooding would have been more severe and leaders in the insurance industry have wondered – are there enough insurance adjusters to handle such an event in a timely fashion?
As we consider how to expedite claims service, some creative ideas are emerging from innovative insurers and service providers about how to leverage available resources more effectively; such as the utilization of predictive analytics in catastrophic modeling, as well as determining contents insured to value statistics. While New York and the insurance industry are necessarily concerned with hazard mitigation of all kinds, we are also continuing to work on how best to respond during, and after, the disasters.
The theme of this year’s National Preparedness campaign is “You Can Be a Hero,” which really puts the program into perspective. Being a hero doesn’t mean saving the world, it means being ready to handle severe events and protect those people and business assets that matter most.