survival

Emergency Preparedness: Businesses Need a Plan Too!

People think disasters happen to somebody else.  Truth is, all companies should plan for anything that might disrupt their day-to-day routine. It does not have to be a major event like a tornado or fire or flood. It’s anything that keeps businesses from operating.

When polling businesses about disaster plans, more than two thirds responded they did not have an emergency plan for their business. The Insurance Information Institute estimates nearly half of companies never reopen following a major catastrophic event that disrupts business for any significant length of time. Do you see a correlation?

It does not take much to create a plan. Creating a team and prioritizing what is critical for the business is a great place to start. Remember the saying, “It takes a village”? No one person can know everything about the facility, the supply chain, the personnel, the customers, or the company. After your “emergency preparedness team” determines what is critical for the business to survive, a plan can be put into place such as an alternative location.

Next, there is key information, critical to your business that needs to be kept safe. Contact information (personnel, vendors/suppliers, and key contacts with your largest customers), financials, and even back-up options for vendors and suppliers (should they be shut down for some reason). Whether the information is stored in a “cloud”, an off-site storage facility, or off-site server, it is important it be in a place where it cannot be destroyed or damaged.

This plan/document is a living, breathing document and it is important for the team to have on-going conversations concerning strategies to help the company recover from any disaster.

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Your Emergency Plan is as Easy as C-A-P

What is an emergency? Perhaps the simplest definition is “any unplanned event that causes death, injury, or property damage.”  It has been said that less than 10 percent of people in the United States are prepared for an emergency. Being prepared for an emergency is as easy as 1-2-3, or in this case just remember three things, C-A-P.

“C” stands for COMMUNICATION.  Whether it is your business (check with employees to find out what they think are the essential elements of the business) or home (check with family members to determine what actions are best to protect the family from harm). In addition to communicating within the business and home circle, reach out to community resources such as your local Chamber of Commerce and your insurance carrier to see what advice they have about recovering from an emergency.

“A” stands for ANTICIPATION.  Here in Utah we do not get hurricanes like they do in Florida, but we do have occasional flooding, massive snowstorms, and those of us in the Salt Lake area are aware we live in an area with high potential to earthquakes. Maybe your company is located next to a rail line that carries shipments of hazardous materials. You need to anticipate any possible emergencies that might happen to you or your community.

“P” stands for PREPARATION.  It all starts with an emergency preparation plan, whether you are talking about a family or a company, large or small, one location or many locations. A sufficient plan that will allow you to face any potential emergency is critical to short and long range survival. For a business’s survival, it may be important to cross-train employees, so that is some are cut off from making it to work, other employees can fill in on essential operations. A plan should include an evacuation strategy and a course of action for contacting family members to see if anything is needed until they can return home. Homes and businesses should keep a supply of water and food just in case conditions prohibit people from leaving. Energy bars, electrolyte drinks, or anything that will provide you with basic nourishment for a minimum of 72 hours.

The key to being prepared for emergencies is to remember these three things.  Do this, and your family and/or your employees will thank you when the emergency is over.

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Water Storage for a Rainy Day

Fact: People can live without food longer than without water. Fact: Drinking water can be stored for long periods of time. Fiction: If there is an emergency, there is enough bottled water in local stores to handle the need. Fiction: The chances of you needing safe drinking water is less than average because natural disasters happen in other parts of the country, not here.

Why do survivalists say water is step one in emergency preparedness? Simple, for many natural or man-made disasters, safe drinking water may become a rare, priceless commodity. Having enough drinking water will, at a minimum, save you and your loved ones from unpleasant side effects, and best case, save lives.

For some, Emergency Preparedness feels overwhelming. Just wrapping our minds about needing water, food, first aid, etc. brings up uncomfortable feelings. While there is no scientific evidence indicating the world is going to come to an end in 2012, there is plenty of evidence to indicating natural and man-made disasters happen all the time, and so does the need to set some things aside for a rainy day. Rain happens. So where do you begin?
The easiest way of getting prepared is to pick up some commercially prepared water. Whether it is distilled, spring, or plain old bottled water, it does not matter. What matters is that you have enough. Minimum requirements: One gallon of water, per person, per day for three days. (Formula: 1g/p/dx3) It’s easy to pick up an extra case of water (which by the way can be stored for at least five years) and put it in your basement or in some out of the way place. Remember, if you have pets, they will need water as well. AND it is “smart” to set a little extra aside because you never know what or who might drop by and for how long.

Next, now that you have set yourself up for success for a 72 hour period, consider adding enough water for a long term emergency. Sometimes it takes weeks, even months, before everything turns back to normal. While water heaters, toilets, pipes, etc. can and will provide some water (as could rain water, rivers, lakes, streams), we suggest picking up a 30 or 55 gallon drum or two for water storage. Another option are 5 gallon pails for water.

Lastly, unless the water is from a sealed container, it is important to keep in mind that it is not always safe, regardless where it comes from. It is important to learn how to disinfect drinking water, especially any water that comes from a questionable source. To disinfect the water, simply boil it for about three minutes. There are commercially available treatment solutions and chlorine bleach (concentration depends on the number of gallons being disinfected), which can kill all dangerous organisms that may be present. Emergency Preparedness, its easy.

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Course 101: What to do in an emergency?

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and they can be devastating. The impact on roadways, power stations, water plants, and water sewage treatment plants can turn the “normal routine” upside down for hours, days, even months and years. Having fires with no water to fight them or local EMTs so swamped that there are no professionally trained people to assist in an emergency is no laughing matter.

Emergencies happen without warning. There is no time to think. Whether it be a natural disaster such as an earthquake (44 of the 50 states are earthquake prone) or severe weather, or a man made disaster caused by equipment failure, such as a power outage, it is important to be prepared. By thinking, planning, and preparing ahead of time, one is able to respond quickly and calmly. The benefits of being prepared are numerous: lives are saved, injuries are prevented, and property damages are reduced. It is easier to “bounce back” from an emergency. Lets review some basics to emergency response for various disasters.

How one responds vary depending on the type of emergency. A medical emergency is the most common. Getting proper first aid training helps one determine how to quickly assess a situation calmly and with control. It also reduces the fear that often comes up when one is in an unfamiliar situation. First and foremost always keep yourself safe. People are the number one priority. Be prepared to assist others as to the location and type of emergency. Dialing 9-1-1 may be all you can do.

For weather emergencies, stay out of harms way by seeking shelter. Stay inside and clear of falling debris. “Duck, cover and hold” may be apropos. That is, seek safety underneath a table or sturdy object, cover your head, and stay put until the situation becomes safe. Stay alert for aftershocks in an earthquake situation. The impact of tornados may have created an unsafe situation so care is to be taken. Be sure to secure equipment to prevent any possible lateral movement or having equipment tip over. Shut off main valves, such as gas lines to prevent leaks.

If there is a fire, notify personnel, shut down equipment and leave or evacuate the area safely. Use and knowledge of fire suppression equipment is critical. Check for broken connectors after shutting off main valves. Check with a flashlight, do not use a match. It is important to have a designated meeting area to re-assess the situation and determine if everyone is safe and what might need to be communicated to emergency personnel.

If a chemical spill happens, stop and think. Is it hazardous? Do I know what to do? Do I have the proper equipment? Am I trained? Is this a danger to you or the facility? Do not try to clean it up, but instead, rope it off and let properly trained professional personnel clean up the spill. Again, the first rule of safety is keeping yourself and others clear of potential dangers.

Keep food and water storage, first aid kit, tool supplies, sanitation, flashlight and batteries and other emergency preparedness materials in a place that is easily accessible. Utilize water supplies such as water heater, toilets, ice cube trays, when needed in an emergency. Pre-emergency drills go a long way to instill calm and focus. Remember it is not uncommon to be isolated from your loved ones during an emergency. Being separated due to work and proximity constraints happens often. Now is the time to practice and get prepared.

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ARE you Prepared?

Recently I was on the www.fema.gov website. There continues to be a growing concern in the U.S. about what is happening with the economy, natural disasters, and world events, including terrorism. I noticed the website had a map listing out the recently declared disaster areas in America. Most of those listed, whether it was in North Dakota or Texas, I was not familiar with. Are you?

Families and businesses are beginning to wake up to the importance of being prepared for potential situations, which will lend them powerless and unable to secure their long-term food, and water needs. Most people are vulnerable to outside influences and have not made an investment in preparing for a disaster. Given that no amount of money can keep someone alive in a crisis, long term water and food storage may be the most important investment we can make.

The food and water systems we have created in our local communities are designed to support our basic day-to-day needs. It is estimated there is less than a three-week supply of food in the national food distribution network. Grocery stores keep about a one-week supply of food in their stores. Most households have even less food readily available. A serious emergency could easily cause breakdowns in the supply of essential goods and services. The non-existent food reserves coupled with a water supply that could get easily contaminated would spell disaster for millions. Are you prepared?

Most survival experts suggest a minimum three-month supply of storable food and water per person. A wise person once said it is better to buy two years early rather than a day late. Still undecided? Personally, I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. How about you? There are a variety of people readily available to lend you assistance. Contact us atwww.marksbarrelcompany.com and let us help.

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