With wildfires, droughts, historic flooding and several other disasters, 2011 proved to be quite a year for emergency managers. It was also quite a year for me. I rolled in a pile of something and carried the odor around for days. To help with what is expected to be a turbulent 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the Resolve to be Ready in 2012 campaign. The purpose is to promote individual and business preparedness in the face of disasters.
Before we go any further, I want to disclose my resolutions for 2012:
- Gain between 10 and 12 pounds.
- Exercise less and conserve strength by napping in the sun.
- Chase various animals more frequently (despite the fact this contradicts resolution #2).
- Ask the guys at the station to cook things that will make my coat nice and shiny.
The good folks at FEMA are encouraging the private sector to be more self-sufficient in its management of disasters. After such a busy year as 2011, the reserves of FEMA and other organizations are sparse. The private sector can help itself by limiting losses incurred following disasters or by preventing damage altogether through proper planning and safeguards. I’ve been planning ahead for months. Our doghouse is prepared for anything and everything.
Many training materials and tips for improving readiness can be found through the site Ready.gov:
- Multi-language communication materials are available in several languages including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Hindi, among others. Why can’t somebody invent a dog-bark translator?
- Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Programs are intended to help organizations to follow proven standards for optimal safety. Followed standards come from three sources— the American Society for Industrial Security, the British Standards Institution, and the National Fire Protection Association.
- Voluntary certifications through Ready.Gov are the result of a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector and are designed to promote self-sufficiency and a decreased reliance on government aid.
- Disaster kit contents are detailed on the site, including the importance of following the rule of storing one gallon of water per person per day. I’m on the 1.5-gallons-of-gravy per-day rule.
- Pledges can be taken at www.Ready.Gov/Resolve, which certifies an individual or business entity is taking necessary steps to be ready to act during a disaster.
- Free materials including the publication Ready Business are available through the site. I offer a stellar tome called How to Succeed at the Dog Park without Even Trying.
- Business Continuity Plans that will allow companies to resume business operations quickly are fully explained on Ready.gov. Companies are encouraged to consider work-at-home arrangements, backup data storage, and other safeguards that will prevent delays in business.
- Disaster Planning Exercise training materials can be downloaded from the site and used to run real-world drills. Personally, I don’t like drills. “Sit!” “Stay!” Those are no fun. I have some commands for you people. “Get the leash!” “Drop that salami!”
Business owners and facility managers are encouraged to offer readiness tips, including:
- Incorporate readiness information and products into any holiday parties. Perhaps you can provide a NOAA radio as a party gift. Or maybe a gift card to the local pet store?
- Need a theme for your party? While “disaster preparedness” might not sound too exciting, you could build a fun volcano or rent a fake snow machine to bring some lightness to the party while raising awareness.
- Perform fire drills during the holiday season to ensure tenants don’t forget about safety.
- Hang up various print and electronic banners available for free from Ready.gov. My wife had me hang a bunch of posters in our doghouse including some of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.
Resolving to be ready does not mean you have to live a constant state of paranoia or fear of disaster. Stop following me you crazy squirrels! It simply means implementing the right practices, products, or facilities that limit your building’s exposure to harm. Your tenants and their employees will have confidence in your safety features, which can prove invaluable in an emergency situation.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.