In early July, millions of people in Southern California experienced two large earthquakes and 4,000-plus aftershocks. In spring, and into the summer, Midwestern residents and businesses experienced some of the most dramatic and damaging flooding in history. Meanwhile experts are predicting this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30, could produce 13 named storms.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that every day I hear about a business getting hit by a natural disaster. These events are occurring with greater strength and frequency, and no part of the country seems to be immune. So, I ask you, are you prepared if your business is affected?
In the past few years, I have seen several of my clients get hit by disaster, and I’ve watched them engage in the hard work of rebuilding and recovering. Their experiences underline what the rest of us should be doing to get ready.
Have a Plan
In the event of an emergency, taking care of ourselves, our family and staff is priority No. 1.
Make sure that you have an exit plan and a meet up point agreed on ahead of time. Make sure that everyone knows there is a plan and what it is. Have a list of what needs to be done, if there is time to implement, before the devastation arrives.
Hurricanes are a prime example of a pending disaster with some lead time. Use your time wisely by prioritizing tasks such as boarding up windows and sand-bagging doorways. Make sure you have a good supply of water and other necessities on hand, including resources such as a generator. Taking some time to work out the logistics before disaster strikes will make it that much easier to recover afterwards.
Make sure you have working — that means you didn’t take out the batteries to stop the beeping — smoke detectors and well-serviced fire extinguishers. If possible, subscribe to an alarm system that monitors for fire, break-ins and even flooding. Keep several flashlights and fresh batteries on hand in the event of blackouts, and a well-stocked first aid kit for medical emergencies. Remember to train staff on where these supplies are located and, when applicable, how to operate them.
Derrick P. Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, is president of Crockett, Myers & Associates, a financial management and accounting firm that has been working with florists for more than 30 years.