laptop with clipboards full of of paper and a pen laying on the keyboard

Creating and Maintaining a Disaster Preparedness Plan

After this past year, I understand everyone wants to return to normal and not think about a disaster. One normal thing to think about: here on the Atlantic coast, it’s June and that means hurricane season. Following a check list while other parts of life are chaotic can help you and your micro-business weather any type of storm. This post shares two simple steps you can take to begin creating and maintaining a disaster preparedness plan.

Why do I care so much about this topic? While many of my tips are general, I bias toward hurricane specific recommendations. I grew up on Eastern Long Island and still live in the metro New York area, and hurricanes are one of our most common causes of large-scale natural disasters. My childhood was shaped in part by Hurricane Gloria and stories of the storm of ’38 and how it impacted my grandparents.

Step one – Creating and Maintaining Supply Kits

People first, always. Stuff, space, work, and records can be recreated. The first step for this and in creating and maintaining a disaster preparedness plan is to have a supplies kit.

When was the last time you looked in yours and checked what’s inside? Has any food expired? Have any of your medical needs changed? I’d make sure a copy of my vaccination record is in my bag. Do the chargers still work with your current devices? Did you borrow your spare set of clothes to do yard work and forget to put them back?

I keep a no electricity required activity kit with my supplies. My bag includes a book I’ve been meaning to read, pens & paper to write letters to friends, and of course yarn & tools to work it up.

Black cat hiding in a tote bag that's tipped over on the floor. His front paws are resting on a knitting scarf.

Pets too

Please don’t forget your pets! For example, I don’t often take both cats to the vet at the same time, however I have a second carrier available if we all needed to evacuate.

My cats have their own supplies bag with water, bowls, cans of food, dry kibble, treats, toys, and a towel.

Step Two – Creating and Maintaining Plans

laptop with clipboards full of of paper and a pen laying on the keyboard

After this past year, I understand there was increased intent to finally create a disaster preparedness plan. I also know that due to the need to just keep going, many may not have taken the time to make that happen. Please, make time. Having one will help to reduce stress. Last year, I wrote up some quick tips to help you get started.

If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into writing one, there are many different disaster preparedness plans available online. These include, Small Business Administration, FEMA, and the CDC, among many others. Many of these plans are intended for either large organizations or families. It will take time to translate guidelines to the unique needs of your micro-business.

There are many parts to a robust disaster preparedness plan. Over the years I’ve written about some key areas including communication and being aware of the potential for scams and phishing in the aftermath.

After creation comes maintenance

Once you’ve created your plan, create a schedule to review it! It’s why each June at the start of hurricane season, I visit this topic. At the end of hurricane season, I take some time to review and revise based on recent experiences. I like to do this in early December, and it’s a good way to make sure that the clothing choices in my supply kit are good for the current season!

What’s stopping your from creating and maintaining a disaster preparedness plan today?

Note: This is a 2021 update of a post initially published in 2016.

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