Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, But You Can!

Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, But You Can!

Contributed by South Florida Servpro locations in Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties / Published October 2017


In light of the recent devastation from Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Harvey in Texas, this is an important time to focus on pre-planning prior to a storm. We should all take action to prepare and focus on planning for unpredictable disasters in the home or workplace. Disasters devastate not only individuals and neighborhoods but also entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and it will maximize your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster. Our neighborhoods must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, neighborhoods, and communities are ready.

According to the latest research, up to 50 percent of businesses become crippled or close down following a disaster. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Storm and flood damage can be devastating. Immediate action is needed, and your priority should be to partner with a national restoration company with local resources who has access to a huge network of experts and has storm damage experience. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is the key to quick response and timely mitigation. Having a plan in place may help minimize the financial impact on your property as well as your recovery time after a disaster. The key is to get help to get you back in your home or office following a disaster as quickly as possible. 

You are likely aware of routine preparation for your residents, but it is a good idea to remind everyone what to do prior to a storm.  Preparation may include circulating a local hurricane preparedness guide; updating all personal information for staff and residents; securing and photographing valuables; regularly maintaining current videotapes of their home for documentation; checking for access into all units; updating any insurance information; and managing the outside of their property regarding landscaping, trees, or any potential flying objects. In the event of a casualty to the condominium property, unit owners should be clear on what they are responsible for repairing or replacing, such as all personal property; floor, wall, and ceiling coverings; electrical fixtures; appliances; water heaters; water filters; built-in cabinets and countertops; and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, and hardware.

It is no secret that many properties, families, and individuals are looking to cut back on spending. But with the frequency of disasters, both natural and man-made, can you afford to not be prepared? Preparedness doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some tips for preparedness on a budget.

  • Make a Plan. Work with your family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
  • Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends, and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace.
  • Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes—renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
  • Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car. Sample ready lists can be found at www.ready.gov/family-supply-list.
  • Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
  • Shop Sales. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year instead of all at once, and you won’t notice the cost as much.
  • Make Sure It Keeps. Store water in safe containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, but make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.
  • Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
  • Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
  • The best tip: Start now. Take small steps toward preparedness, and before you know it, you will be ready!

Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. Since SERVPRO® is the category leader in fire and water cleanup and restoration, they have been committed to helping the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in their efforts to promote the importance of preparedness planning. The goals of this preparedness planning are to minimize the impact of a storm by having an on-going process for your property to mitigate the effects of dangerous debris, impassable roadways, no electricity, no running water, and the inability to get your association up and running.  A workable site plan for your property that shows the locations of fire pumps, generators, pool pumps, fuel storage, electrical rooms, shut-off valves, and any other pertinent information is fundamental information to identify prior to a disaster. SERVPRO® offers this survey, complimentary, to all community associations, rental properties, and commercial structures, with the goal of helping these properties get back in shape after a disaster strikes. 


Servpro® Emergency Ready Profile® (ERP)

For more information, call 1-800-SERVPRO or visit servpro.com. The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) is a tool for property managers and owners, both residential and commercial, to know that you are “Ready for whatever happens.” You will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage affect your assets. Florida, Help Is Here! Whether you are facing a small water leak, a devastating fire, mold in your home or office, or a catastrophic storm, SERVPRO is the one to call.