National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family, community, and business disaster planning now and throughout the year. As we have all learned from COVID-19 and the recent civil unrest — and continue to be reminded by ongoing wildfires, hurricanes and flooding — disasters and emergencies can happen to anyone at any time.
These events can adversely impact households, businesses and communities, and in some instances, entire states, regions, or the nation as a whole. Are you ready?
Disasters disrupt hundred of thousands of lives per year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property, but many of those effects can be reduced or even eliminated with proper planning and preparedness. Being prepared can reduce fear and anxiety, as people know where to go and what to do should a disaster become imminent.
Taking the following precautions and proactive steps can significantly reduce the losses that often accompany disasters:
- Organize paperwork – gather and safeguard financial, business information, insurance, and legal documents.
- Secure job sites – move vehicles and equipment to safe locations, ensure materials are not exposed.
- Clear debris – remove excess building materials, tree limbs, shrubbery and anything that can burn or become airborne.
- Flood-proof homes and businesses – elevate structures and/or mechanicals, protect doorways and other entrances.
- Secure items that could shake loose – anchor shelving and furniture, place heavy items on the floor, secure cabinet doors.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that 40 percent of small businesses will not reopen after a disaster; 25 percent more will close within one year; and 75 percent of businesses without continuity planning will fail within three years of a disaster. Businesses, large and small, are at risk – as are your employees, customers, and the community you serve. The good news is that the actions to protect your business, employees and customers are simple, scalable, and many are very low cost to implement.In recognition of National Preparedness Month, NAHB will provide weekly posts with tips on how to prepare your family, business, and HBA to successfully weather these unexpected storms. NAHB also provides guidance in the Emergency Preparedness and Response section of nahb.org. You can also visit ready.gov/september for more information about creating a plan.