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Is Your Company Ready For A Natural Disaster?

As we learn that Hurricane Isaac has breached the levees of New Orleans comes a reminder that September is National Preparedness Month. September starts Saturday. Let's start preparing.

FEMA sponsors National Preparedness Month each September to "encourage Americans to make sure they are prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities." NPM is a good opportunity to review your personal and corporate disaster plans (you do have them, right?) because things change. If your corporate disaster checklist states that Jim was supposed to turn out the lights ahead of a hurricane but Jim got laid off two years ago, then you have a problem. And that's just one simple example.

Ready.gov is a great resource for disaster-planning tips. You can't plan for every contingency, but you can plan ahead. An out-of-date (or non-existent) disaster plan can cost companies dearly: FEMA estimates 40% of small businesses never re-open following a natural disaster.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to interview two sisters who lost their small New Orleans bakery to Hurricane Katrina and shared their post-Katrina disaster planning story. I'm thinking about them today. Let's hope the government's disaster response is a heck of a lot better this time around, because last time it was terrible.

Yes, disaster planning isn't something we like to think about because it's almost as depressing as a trite GOP convention speech that barely mentions Mitt Romney, but we have to think about it sometimes. And it just happens to almost be National Preparedness Month, so let's think about it together! For a few minutes? See, I knew we could do it.

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