Saturday, December 4, 2021

It Takes a Community to Prepare for and Respond to Emergencies

Emergency preparedness isn’t limited to government and residents. Businesses should be prepared for disaster situations as well. The whole community approach to emergency management pulls together the entire community to prepare for and respond to crisis situations.

Prepare.

By being prepared, businesses can respond quickly and even help the community in a time of need.  After a disaster, statistics show that 25% of businesses will not open again. However, having an emergency plan in place will allow you to lessen the financial impact of the disaster and reopen your business quickly. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a good place to start when learning how you can prepare your business for emergencies.

Respond.

Businesses should have a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in place to ensure that they are capable of conducting their essential functions and processes under all threats and conditions. A COOP may include identified risks and a step-by-step guide over how to respond to various emergency events. A business toolkit may also store emergency messages for websites and social media to keep your customers advised.

Learn how to create a business continuity of operations plan to keep your business running during a disaster or emergency and create a business emergency toolkit for emergency situations.

Recover.

Disasters take their toll on people and communities in big ways. Making sure you and loved ones are safe after a disaster is priority number one, but for business owners, making sure they are able to rebuild after a disaster is next in line.

Successful recovery steps include:

  • Communicate with employees, customers and stakeholders.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Use your online presence to help the community.
  • Check your backed-up data.
  • Evaluate your business model.
  • Plan ahead, this is time to update your existing emergency plan, with lessons learned.
  • Know who to call, with large events FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Association may be able to help.
  • Assess your vendors.

Together, the City of Southlake and its business partners can create a resilient Southlake.

How You Can Be Prepared for Emergencies

The City of Southlake is prepared for emergency situations and ready to respond should disaster strike. How can you help? Make sure your family is ready with an emergency kit, a household plan and by staying informed.

Every home should have an emergency kit that includes enough food, water and supplies to last your entire household for 3-7 days. Your kit should also include a flashlight, first aid items, cell phone chargers and prescription medications. You can buy premade kits, however, it is beneficial to create a kit that is personal to your family’s likes and dislikes. Many families have pets. The emergency kit should also take into consideration those needs as many shelters may require your pets to be secured in a kennel or with a leash. It is important to keep your entire emergency kit inside an easy-to-carry container such as a plastic bin or a duffel bag. This allows for quick transport in the event you need to evacuate your home.

Planning for emergencies is also crucial. Each household should have a plan to evacuate their home and to shelter in place. Since disasters are not normally planned, have a meet-up place designated since many times emergencies happen when family members are away from the home, such as at school or work. Also is it recommended that you identify a contact from out-of-state, that each member can check-in with. That way if local communication is down, it is possible that a text may reach someone outside of the affected area. Don’t forget to consider your family’s specific needs like pets as well as how you will communicate and reconnect if separated. Having family photos and pet photos readily available can assist with reunification.

Stay in the know. The City of Southlake Office of Emergency Management recommends all Southlake residents and businesses sign up for Alert Southlake, our free emergency notification system. This tool ensures you receive pertinent emergency notifications based on your preferences of phone call, text message or email so that you and your family can respond quickly.

With your help, we can make sure Southlake is prepared for emergency situations. Learn more about how you can prepare your family for emergencies at www.CityofSouthlake.com/BePrepared. Sign up for Alert Southlake at www.CityofSouthlake.com/AlertSouthlake.