Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

With hurricane season starting this weekend, we present this guest post by Daphne Homes. 

Disasters exact their toll in countless ways, catching unprepared families off-guard and causing significant damage and destruction.  Staying safe from disasters requires a multi-pronged approach, focusing on the types of events that occur close to where you live.  Water events, for example, require a different set of preparations and precautions than what one might undertake priming for a tornado or earthquake.

While each disaster preparedness strategy needs fine tuning for its specific application, there are nonetheless universal considerations shared by disaster preppers, such as water, communications, and sustenance. Whether fortifying their homes and businesses against earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, winter storms or tornados, those grooming for potential disaster share similar insights, including the following ways to prepare for the best disaster outcomes.

Establish a Plan

Responding to natural disasters is about covering all the bases and reacting quickly to mitigate danger.  Without a pre-formulated plan for evacuating or responding to an event, families are left fending for themselves without adequate guidance.  On the other hand, articulating clear disaster plans for your family takes the guess-work out of reacting, by outlining each family member's responsibilities during disaster events.

Effective plans start with the basics, and account for each detail of the family's response.  To execute plans efficiently in the event of an actual emergency, family members must be familiarized with the blueprint ahead of time.  Practicing, by actually walking through the steps of an evacuation plan or simulating a disaster are the best ways to ensure a smooth response under adverse conditions.

Learn Survival Skills

In the end, disaster preparations are made to increase your chances of surviving a catastrophic event.  As a result; the more survival skills you possess, the higher your chances of emerging from a disaster.  Everyone's interests and abilities are different, so some preppers may not go as far as other fortifying their survival skills.  Basic hunting, medical and wilderness techniques may prove useful during a major catastrophe, so these are good places to start expanding your knowledge.

Protect Communications

There is no telling how badly the infrastructure might be damaged during a natural disaster, so maintaining some form of communication is essential for responding to unanticipated events.  Mobile phones with charging capabilities, including a manual rotary charger, serve essential communications functions.  And disaster radios, like NOAA Weather Radios, should also be kept on-hand for monitoring communications from law enforcement, disaster relief organizations, and other agencies.

Assemble Food, Water and Medical Supplies

While it may not be feasible to account for every potential injury, maintaining medical essentials hedges against common disaster harm. And a stockpile of non-perishable food items increases the chance of survival when access to sustenance is otherwise limited.  Most importantly, a water reserve furnishes life's blood for those confined or displaced during disasters.

Stay Informed about Disaster Resources

In addition to the individual preparedness efforts launched by families, municipal agencies and other government entities contribute to comprehensive disaster planning.  To best prepare for tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other unanticipated tragedies, stay in the loop about resources near you.  Nearby chapters of the American Red Cross or your local emergency management office are each prepared to assist your disaster planning. Community warning protocols and other important information should be incorporated into your family's disaster response plan, to shorten reaction times and account for particular local requirements.

Adequate disaster preparation accounts for food and water needs, but access to information and basic survival skills reinforce safety during adverse events.  The key to positive outcomes is establishing and executing a comprehensive disaster response plan, which should include an evacuation strategy.

Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from and you can reach her at

Friday, May 23, 2014

Is Your Business Able to Sustain Itself After a Disaster?

By Ken Myers

In 2013, much of the United States was faced with disasters that hurt business practices. For instance, the flooding in Colorado stretched a great deal across the state rendering homes and businesses useless across many cities and towns. In the event of a human-made or natural disaster, your business needs to be able to sustain itself and the employees in order to continue being successful. What can you do to keep your business from suffering financial damage while experiencing physical destruction?

1. Insurance Plans - Of course having property insurance regarding your business could help reduce the out-of-pocket expenses that come from repairs after a disaster. The sooner your business can re-open for the customers, the less financial damage is done to your net income. Your business shouldn't remain closed because you don't have the money to fix a wall or replace doors and windows.

2. In-house Insurance - Each month, take a certain percentage from your net income and move it into a savings account of sorts. Call this your "disaster recovery" fund. As time continues, you could grow an amazing amount of money in this account that could allow you to physically move your business should a disaster render the building condemnable. Keep your business insurance premiums, but use this account to help expedite repairs or replacements.

3. Diversify Your Income - While your walk-in customers keep your employees paid and the lights on in the office, adding an online revenue stream may not be a bad idea. One of the glorious aspects of adding this online method is that it doesn't have to rely on your physical location. There are many ways that virtually any company can add a few extra dollars each month in online services and sales. In some business models, the online revenue is actually greater than the brick-and-mortar store. This will allow your business to continue making money even if your building was reduced to nothing more than rubble.

4. Backup Information - Don't contain all of your important business files and documents in a single location. If you use the Cloud to store these files, then you still have access to them whether your office burns down or not. Even many small businesses will use free folder synchronization sites that offer 5GB of storage space to be shared with several devices including online access. For these methods to work, you only need to put a file into a specific folder on your computer. The file is then instantly shared protecting the business from losing the data.

5. Employee Relief Fund - Good employees are important to the success of any business. After a disaster, these employees need to find work. If you have a dedicated relief fund for these employees, you could retain their services once your business is re-established. Even if you could offer a few days of paid "Disaster Days" separated from vacation time, it could go a long way to show your dedication to those employees that help your business succeed.

Without a plan of sustainability for your business, a single disaster could create an unrecoverable situation. Debts could begin to mount and you could become locked in a never-ending cycle of paying loans in order to survive. Prepare your business for disaster as you never know when a freak rain storm will wash half of the town down the river or when a forest fire will consume your warehouse.
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.