Happy New Year – Resolution: Get Prepared!

Happy New Year!  I look forward to what lies ahead in the upcoming twelve months.  While I know that there will be challenges I also know there will be lots of opportunity as well, just like in a disaster.  From my challenges I hope to learn and grow, and from my opportunities I hope to prosper.  I wish you great success this coming year.

As we close out 2010, we do so with some wild weather activity.  The recent blizzard in the Northeast and significant storms and flooding in the West.  In the Midwest, we experienced a minor earthquake.  On December 30, 2011.  A Magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck North of Indianapolis, near Kokomo, Indiana.  More than 5,300 “Felt Reports” were received, but no damage reports.  Check out recent earthquakes at: http://www.ceri.memphis.edu/seismic/recenteqs/ .  On December 31, 2011 parts of Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois experienced strong storms and tornado activity.   Just a week earlier they were enjoying a white Christmas. These events should be continued reminders to all of us that we need to be reasonably prepared.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a News Release On December 30, 2011 that said “with the new year fast approaching, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging all Americans to make emergency preparedness one of their New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.  “Resolve to be Ready in 2011” (www.ready.gov ) is a nationwide effort to urge individuals, families, businesses and communities to focus on being ready and aware of all the hazards that exist in their communities”.

Speaking of being prepared, have you seen the one-hour show “How To Survive A Disaster” that was recently on the Science Channel?  If it’s repeated in your area, I encourage you to watch it.  An interesting point that the program addresses is the impact “herd mentality” has on our judgment to respond … or not respond …to danger.  As was pointed out, too often people don’t want to take action out of embarrassment.  This issue has significance as we address risk and conduct fire drills, building evacuations, and our emergency response exercises.  We need to encourage people to take action.

Looking specifically to the private sector, there are two initiatives we need to pay attention to in 2011:

The “Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program” (PS‑Prep) www.fema.gov/privatesector/preparedness is being championed by FEMA.  According to FEMA documentation, PS-PREP was mandated by Title IX of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.  Congress directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop and implement a voluntary program of accreditation and certification of private entities using standards adopted by DHS that promote private sector preparedness, including disaster management, emergency management and business continuity programs. Participation in the PS-Prep program is completely voluntary.  No private sector entity will be required by DHS to comply with any standard adopted under the program.  However, DHS encourages all private sector entities to seriously consider seeking certification on one or more standards that will be adopted by DHS.

The other initiative is the “Ready Rating Program” sponsored by the American Red Cross (ARC) www.readyrating.org .   According to the Red Cross, the Ready Rating Program is a first-of-its-kind membership program, created to help businesses, organizations, and schools improve their emergency preparedness. As a Ready Rating member, you will have access to Red Cross guidance, tools and support that will help you become better prepared for emergencies and disasters – and be recognized for your efforts.

Both of these initiatives offer opportunity for businesses to become better prepared.  If you are someone tasked with business continuity, safety, or security responsibilities take a look at both of these initiatives.

As I close I want to thank my friend David Strom for his help and mentoring as I developed this blog site.  David is a terrific individual and I appreciate his support.  Check David out at www.strom.com .

Last, based on feedback I received, I’m going to change the frequency of my blog from monthly to twice a month (on the 1st and 15th).  This is one of those challenges I mentioned in the opening!  Also, I’m going to close each blog with a small tip.  Some will be useful and some will be fun – I think.

Here’s to a terrific 2011!

TIP: Most of us use the New Year to clean out our house and reorganize all of our “stuff”.  Use this time to begin putting together a family preparedness kit or update the one you already have.  Here’s a link to see what you should include: www.ready.gov/america/getakit



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