National Preparedness Month – Is Your Business Disaster-Ready?


September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and this year’s theme is “Be disaster aware, take action to prepare.” As a business owner or leader, disaster readiness is not only important for protecting the lives and health of your employees and customers—it can also help you get back to business faster once an event is over. So whether or not you’ve heard of NPM, it’s a great time to consider the disaster readiness of your business and what you can do to be better prepared for difficult events. This post explains why National Preparedness Month is so important and provides an overview of the NPM program and activities.

Putting Business Preparedness in Perspective 

Natural or human-caused disasters spell the end for many businesses—up to 40% of those affected, according to the insurance Information Institute. Moreover, between 1980 and 2010 alone, the United States experienced 24 earthquakes, 392 storms and 132 floods. That’s why National Preparedness Month is so important. It not only provides valuable information about how to prepare for disasters and emergencies, it also encourages action and helps you set goals. 

What is NPM?

NPM is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a way to raise awareness about emergency, natural disaster and terrorist attack preparedness. According to http://www.ready.gov (the government website dedicated to educating and empowering Americans to respond to emergencies and disasters), preparedness is based on four building blocks, including:

  • Be informed
  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Get involved

During NPM, workplaces, communities and families are asked to apply these building blocks to increase preparedness. Each week of NPM introduces new themes, which include how to reconnect with family after a disaster, how to plan for specific business needs before a disaster, how to build an emergency kit and how to practice for an emergency. You can get tips for preparedness throughout the month by following #NatlPrep on Twitter. 

NPM culminates with National PreparAthon! day on or around September 30th. Your business is encouraged to hold a PreparAthon! day as a way to plan or practice for the disasters that are most likely to occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfire or winter storms. 

How Ready is Your Business?

If your business has already taken steps to prepare for disasters and emergencies, that’s great and you are ahead of the game. Either way, however, be sure to check out the resources that ready.gov and FEMA provide throughout the month and use a PreparAthon! to make sure your employees and business are up to date on your latest planning. If you’re wondering how well prepared your business is, you can use this free Red Cross assessment, as a good starting place.

Resources for NPM:
http://www.ready.gov/september
http://www.ready.gov/program-management
http://www.preventionweb.net/english/countries/statistics/?cid=185
http://www.ready.gov
http://www.community.fema.gov/connect.ti/AmericasPrepareathon/view?objectId=3222352&exp=e1
http://readyrating.org/