Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

Everything You Need to Know About Preparing for Disasters

You never know when disaster’s going to strike.

A hurricane might hit, an earthquake might occur, a terrorist might attack…heck, a zombie apocalypse could be around the corner!

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. However, a shared feature among them all is the element of surprise involved.

Alas, only 17% of Americans are prepared for one.

As they say, failing to prepare is like preparing to fail! By contrast, expecting the worst and preparing for disasters is key to walking away from them unscathed. But what does that preparation entail? What does it mean and look like to be ready for a disaster?

Unsure where to get started with your emergency preparedness? Let us help.

Read on for 7 tips to ensure you’re ready and waiting for worst-case scenarios.

1. Assemble an ICE Kit

ICE stands for ‘in case of emergency’.

You might have heard similar labels thrown around, such as a bug-out bag, or a get out of dodge (GOOD) bag. They’re basically different names for the same idea:

Have a kit full of helpful gear, supplies, and equipment that’ll come in handy in an emergency.

Let’s face it, the very nature of an emergency means there’s not a lot of time to react. They happen quickly and catch most people off guard.

A bag full of essential first-aid equipment, food, toiletries, shelter (think tents or bivvy bags), spare (and suitable) clothing, and so on will be a vital help.

In a hurry to leave your home, everything you need is ready and waiting. You can grab the bag and go.

2. Keep It Updated

It isn’t enough to have your ICE kit stowed away somewhere for safe-keeping.

You need to make sure it’s kept up to date and fully stocked.

As the time between emergencies extends, it’s easy to delve into the ICE bag. You might decide to eat some of the food, or need some of the first aid equipment. Moreover, food and first-aid gear might go out of date in the interim.

When disaster strikes, the last thing you want is a depleted bug-out bag with out-of-date supplies.

Be sure to take the time and effort to keep it updated. Replace anything you take out, and do a regular audit to ensure it’s in optimal condition.

3. Put Together a Plan of Action

It’s hard to think straight in an emergency.

In the midst of a disaster, you’re stressed out, adrenaline is pumping, and panic can ensue. Lacking a well-rehearsed plan, you can easily make mistakes, or fail to take appropriate action.

Formulating a plan of action for a disaster (and practicing it) will help you respond effectively to any events that occur.

Think of it as a risk assessment you’d do in the workplace.

You look at the risks in the environment and take steps to accommodate them.

Think about the worst-case scenarios. Is your location susceptible to natural disasters? Have there been instances of particular emergencies in the past? What could feasibly go wrong?

With this insight in mind, set about planning for them. Realize where you’d go, how you’d get there, who you’d contact, and what you’d need.

4. Make Sure Everyone Has It!

A plan is no good if the people it effects don’t know about it.

Make sure your family and friends understand what will happen and what they need to do. Ensure you have their buy-in, such that everyone agrees on the plan.

Even better, include them in the planning stage itself.

That way they’ll be on board from the get-go; the plan has a better chance of proceeding without issue too. Distribute the plan to whoever needs a copy.

5. Organize Communications

The ability to communicate is vital when disasters occur.

In some instances, it can be the difference between life and death. After all, being able to communicate means you can check up on your loved ones, and notify others of your situation.

Unfortunately, traditional means of communication may no longer be available. Phone lines may not work and mobile-signal might have been lost.

In these instances, having access to a radio transmitter, or high-quality walkie-talkies can be a vital life-line. That radio also means you can learn updates on the situation from the outside world; you won’t feel so cut off from civilization.

6. Buy a Backup Generator

In a disaster, power is almost as important as the ability to communicate.

You’re also just as likely to lose it- power cuts are hugely common in all manner of emergencies (especially natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes).

Of course, no electricity means your lights, heating, internet (which, in turn, means the loss of many forms of communication), TV, fridges, microwaves, electric ovens, and so on.

Life is exponentially harder when the power’s out. Having a backup generator provides a lifeline. It means you can access vital power (at least for a period of time).

For businesses that can mean the difference between staying open and having to close! Here’s a go to website for finding one.

7. Stay Informed

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the need to stay informed.

Staying up to speed with current events is a vital first step to preparing for a disaster.

Listen to the news, check the weather forecast, speak to your neighbors, and do what you can to be in the know about potential problems.

Of course, some emergencies (such as terrorist attacks) arise from no-where.

There’s no way the news will help in the lead up to it.

Even in these situations, though, keeping informed with developments can be a reassurance. Further, it can prove a practical means of preventing additional issues from occurring.

Time to Start Preparing for Disasters

Preparing for disasters is vital for escaping from them unscathed.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Americans take steps to prepare for an emergency.

Do you fall in the majority of people who are unprepared for the worst? Hopefully, this article will help get you up to speed.

Are you a business looking for more posts like this? Be sure to check out the ‘business advice’ section of the website.