Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today!
Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month to promote the importance of family and community disaster planning. This year’s theme, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” resonates strongly as local communities and communities around the world battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For disaster mitigation specialists at SERVPRO® of Citrus County, the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of everyday life, health, and well-being have magnified the importance of SERVPRO’s ongoing message to the communities it serves: When disaster strikes, preparedness is the best defense.
Before COVID-19 exploded into a global crisis, ‘disaster preparedness’ for the everyday home or business owner was largely dictated by the hazards unique to their location or their business. For some, that meant preparing for hurricanes and water damage, for others, tornadoes, flooding, wind damage, or even wildfires. But COVID-19 taught us that everyone – individuals and business owners alike – need to be prepared for a national emergency that may disrupt food and medical supplies, transportation systems, schools, businesses, and every single aspect of everyday life that we take for granted. We have learned that no matter where you live or work, in addition to your ‘disaster’ preparations, making certain that you have a stock of some basic items on hand can make a huge difference if a national or global event suddenly disrupts – or even stops – everyday life.
At SERVPRO, we emphasize that everyone still needs to have a disaster preparedness plan in place. FEMA provides easy-to-use disaster planning guidelines at https://www.ready.gov, and home and business owners both can take advantage of free tools like the SERVPRO READY app at https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp. The app stores essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes. Local business owners can take an additional preparedness step by designating SERVPRO of Citrus County as their disaster mitigation and restoration provider. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a no-cost assessment of the facility and assist the owner in completing a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) to be stored in the READY app.
COVID-19 has taught us we need to rethink and add to our disaster preparedness toolkits. We are all still struggling with a ‘disaster’ that has disrupted not only our lives and our jobs, but our entire community, our society, and the supply chain that we depend on. While in retrospect, the shortages of some of these items have become the stuff of urban legend, it is a good idea to stockpile a supply of items for which there are no easy substitutes. Toilet paper; yeast and flour for breadmaking; detergents; canned foods, fruits, and vegetables; pet foods and cat litter; fresh dairy items; diapers; and a host of other items were in short supply for weeks at the beginning of the crisis. Think back on those weeks and keep a supply of the things that you just don’t want to do without – along with some shelf-stable dairy items, dried beans, and frozen meals. Use them before they expire but be sure to replace them.