There are very few people in the world or the United States who are not vulnerable in their homes or businesses to one type of disaster or another. Disaster strikes generally when least expected and not at all prepared for and can have devastating consequences in the toll of human lives, property damage, and the ruin of businesses. Prepare a disaster plan for your home and business in order to maintain as much control of things in this situation as possible.
Home or business invasions should first focus on everyone getting out of the house. Whether or not the invader is in the house when this is discovered or not the first order of business needs to be to insure the safety of everyone in the home or business. For both homes and businesses it is best to establish a rendezvous point for this specific situation. Make sure every family member or employee knows where he or she should meet everyone else in the case of a break in. For families with small children it should be something as simple as a neighbor’s house for businesses it can be wherever you feel there is a large enough space to accommodate everyone that will need to meet. Businesses should also have a phone call protocol established of those who should be able to call those who do not need to be present initially in order to avoid overwhelming the situation and location with too many people asking questions and wanting answers all at once.
For fires and weather related disasters home and businesses need to have an emergency plan in place (this should be different in hurricane regions according to the long range predictions and uncertainty of not only the routes of hurricanes but the amount of damage that can lie in their wake). If emergencies such as fires or tornadoes occur during regular office hours every employee should know where to go for protection and/or escape. The same holds true for homes. Families with small children should practice disaster drills at various times during the night and day in order to make sure children know innately what to do in case of emergency and do not panic and forget when and if the crucial time should ever prevent itself. Knowledge saves lives in situations such as this and having a clearly defined and understood avenue for escape can be critical in a situation such as this.
More than giving workers and family members a clearly defined route to take when disaster strikes having a designated and specific plan for emergencies also gives them a sense of purpose that will often override the traditional sense of panic. This is a good plan for families and work places across the country to practice.
It was mentioned above that hurricane plans are slightly different and this is true. Hurricanes present a fairly unique dilemma as we have discovered in recent years because they can literally devastate entire regions with the totality of their destruction. In these instances, information is needed to get out quickly to employees and family members that not only allows them to know who is safe but also the status of work, coworkers, and home and hearth. Establish an email list in order to contact those that may be displaced and to allow all who have an interest to know what the situation at home, work, etc. may be. If a home or business is fortunate enough to be in place once these ‘once in a lifetime’ storms pass then family members and employees will take great comfort of getting back into the normalcy of a workweek as quickly as possible. Use the opportunity to let them know the situation and give them the option of returning (if they are ready and prepared) or taking the time off necessary in order to get their homes and lives in order. All in all having a plan is the best way to go.