Cape Gazette
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Preparedness Month spotlights need for end-to-end disaster readiness

Local specialist urges business owners to conduct a preparedness assessment, create a plan
Sep 02, 2014

Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sponsors National Preparedness Month to highlight the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. This is good advice for everyone; but for business owners, being prepared to respond to the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters can literally mean the difference between staying in business and closing the doors forever. According to FEMA, up to 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a major disaster; just a couple of inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Ray Hopkins, owner of SERVPRO of Sussex County, says, "When disaster strikes, you need to be ready to immediately assess the situation and take the first critical steps to protect your employees and property from further damage. The key is having a plan in place before you need it. You can afford to take time now to gather the necessary information and create a recovery plan, but you can't afford that time after a disaster. That‚s a time for action, not planning."

Preparedness planning tools like the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program at www.servpro.com/ready can help business owners know exactly who to call and what to do when disaster strikes. Under this program, a business owner works with a SERVPRO of Sussex County disaster recovery specialist to create an Emergency READY Profile for their facility, at no charge.

This comprehensive document contains critical information about the business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. Having this information in hand helps business owners and SERVPRO Franchise Professionals react to a unexpected event quickly and effectively, to help minimize business interruption. And, because disasters are unexpected, there is a Smartphone app and web version of the program available to provide business owners with access to their ERP 24/7.

Recognizing that the best way to deal with a disaster is to take steps to prevent damage in the first place, SERVPRO is also a national sponsor of the American Red Cross Ready Rating Program. This free, web-based program, available at readyrating.org, uses a 123-point self-assessment to help homeowners, business owners, organizations and schools assess their level of preparedness for weather-related or other emergencies in advance.

While the Ready Rating Program focuses on disaster readiness, the Emergency READY Program recognizes that, when disaster does strike, fast response is the key to controlling damage and downtime. Together, these two programs provide an end-to-end approach to disaster preparedness.

"When it comes to disaster readiness planning, it just makes sense to take advantage of the tools that are available, especially when they are offered at no charge," said Hopkins. "The first few minutes after a disaster strikes are often chaotic and very emotional. Minutes lost searching for shut-off valves, fire suppression system controls, or emergency contact numbers can mean further property loss, and worse. With the information in a business's ERP, our experienced technicians can move into action effectively and immediately to help minimize damage and set the business on the road to recovery."

SERVPRO professionals specialize in disaster restoration, cleanup and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it like it never even happened, for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Sussex County, contact Hopkins at 302-856-9768 or office@servpro5930.com. For more information about SERVPRO, go to www.servpro.com.

 

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