Do you have a plan ready in case a disaster strikes? Whether they are natural or man-made, emergency situations can arise at a moment’s notice and dramatically alter the usual way you live or do business. Emergencies of all kinds occur in every type of environment, and though you may not have lived through anything catastrophic yet, that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. If an emergency situation unfolded in your area, would you be able to handle it? Could your business survive an unpredictable turn of events? The answer to these questions depends on whether or not you have a robust disaster recovery plan prepared.
The reality is that there are things in life that we can’t avoid, control or predict; however, we can prepare for eventualities that may arise. Being prepared and having tools and plans in place to overcome a disaster can mean the difference between surviving a challenging situation - and thriving - or giving up and succumbing to circumstance.
Emergency Situations: Natural or Man-Made Disasters
To help prepare communities for the humanitarian crises that inevitably accompany major disasters, state governments have created agencies to help local governments, charitable organizations and private companies get through emergency situations, whether they are caused by Mother Nature or human error. The goal of these agencies is to protect communities, regional economies and the natural environments of a given area, but agencies can only go so far in terms of preparing businesses for how to handle a disaster situation. For this reason, agencies will often contract services out to companies that specialize in dealing with large-scale emergencies. There are many different kinds of emergency situations or disasters that people can be confronted with, as the table below shows:
Remember too that one disaster can quickly lead to another: droughts can lead to wildfires, just as storms can lead to flooding, landslides, sinkholes and power outages. Such disasters can also impact a community’s food supply, whether through damage to crops or contamination of soil, which can limit available food and cause prices to increase. RestoreYourEconomy.org estimates that contamination of food as the result of a major disaster could negatively affect U.S. agriculture exports to the tune of $140 billion.
Agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are tasked with delivering help when disasters strike, but history has shown that they can’t always make it to affected areas fast enough, and often cannot provide the manpower needed to effectively manage the situation. Thankfully, there are private businesses that provide emergency management services for these types of situations; not only do they help organizations prepare for disasters, but they provide the tools and resources that businesses need to overcome catastrophic situations and rebuild, both structurally and financially.
Types of Emergency Management Services
There are a variety of emergency management training programs that can help you prepare for any disaster, including:
- Hazard identification
- Loss prevention
- Operation response to emergencies
- Technical support
- Disaster recovery assistance
- Business community engagement
- Re-entry strategy
- Capacity building for economic recovery
When disaster strikes, people often feel helpless and look to the government to provide assistance. Past disasters - such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, which were the costliest storms in U.S. history - caused devastating damage; recent man-made catastrophes like the water crisis in Flint, MI and Hoosick Falls, NY, are characterized by communities dealing with contaminated water supplies. These emergency situations are affecting people’s health while also negatively impacting the economies of the affected areas.
Both the natural and man-made disasters provide devastating proof that governments need to work harder to not only prepare agencies, employees and departments to improve their response to these types of situations, but also to have plans in place that facilitate quicker response times, better training for emergency workers and volunteers, and financial support for recovery operations.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com