Don’t wait for a disaster to plan for one

Volcanoes. Floods. Oil spills.

Don’t wait for a disaster to happen before you start planning on how to deal with such an occurrence.

A volcanic eruption may sound like a far-fetched scenario from a bad movie, but the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland continues to throw a monkey wrench into the global business scene. The volcano continues to erupt and has closed airports throughout the United Kingdom. Travelers who were in Europe or were planning to fly to Europe around the time of the April 14 eruption were stranded for up to a week without plans for shelter, food or alternative transportation. My MBA group was in Prague at the time, and we were fortunate to be able to our stay at the four-star hotel we had been staying at – with the hotel giving us a good rate. But thousands of travelers were not so fortunate.

Nashville’s residents have been doing an admirable job of recovering from the aftermath of the historic spring flooding that swamped the city. The people and businesses pulled together and began helping one another even before the government began to get involved. Other areas of the South were damaged by flooding and tornadoes.

The Gulf oil spill drew more media attention than the deadly Southern storms. Containment and cleanup efforts continue, but the ecological damage has been done.

Whether or not your business handles a potentially toxic material like crude oil or handles public safety like an airline, planning for disasters is a prudent precaution. Insurance isn’t the only way to prepare for the worst. It makes sense to pay the extra money to back up your invaluable data and store it off-site with a business that specializes in such things. You may want to consider having a back-up generator, water and non-perishable food supplies.

Geography can be a factor in planning for disasters: A business in Oklahoma would want to have an action plan for dealing with a tornado, while a company in Florida would need a plan for dealing with a hurricane. Such plans should include contact information for all personnel and ways to streamline the decision-making process.

You may not be expecting to have to deal with a disaster, but that’s the thing about disasters – they’re unexpected. Try to live by the Boy Scouts motto – Be prepared.


About Jason Reynolds
I'm a reporter, blogger, husband and aspiring author. When I'm not working, spending time with the family, or reading (which is quite a bit), I enjoy cooking, traveling, photography and wrangling my family's cats and chickens.

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