10 Ways to Prepare for a Sudden Disaster

Getty Images

Optimism is a quality that benefits you throughout life, but don’t let optimism be the enemy of preparedness. As stylist Gregg Giannillo discovered, health insurance can give you at least some peace of mind that the big medical bills will get paid. Even with insurance, though, a high deductible or copay can “add insult to injury” when your illness or mishap turns into a financial nightmare. In recent polls conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 30% of Americans reported problems paying medical bills, with 73% of those people saying that they’ve spent less on food, clothing or basic household items in order to pay off medical costs. For years, medical bills have been the leading cause of bankruptcy filings.

Work stoppages also can be triggered by anything from an accidental fire or water pipe break to a natural disaster or even terrorism. Last year’s brutal hurricanes, as well as California’s widespread fires and mudslides, demonstrate how quickly an unplanned event can impact business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers 10 tips for businesses to prepare for sudden disaster:

  1. Organize a staff team to create your plan.
  2. Gather critical documents and information needed for decision making.
  3. Prioritize the company’s most important operations and processes.
  4. Identify hazards and potential disruptions to your operations.
  5. Design a plan that is easy to understand and implement.
  6. Create a communications strategy and plan to use it post-emergency. Maintain an up-to-date emergency contact list for employees, vendors, suppliers and other key stakeholders.
  7. Recruit and train employee volunteers to manage the response.
  8. Back up and store vital records and data at an offsite location.
  9. Take action to mitigate the potential impact on equipment, buildings, facilities, inventory and storage. Consider your insurance options and whether to purchase a generator.
  10. Test and update your plan at least annually.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about