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Minding Your Business

february 11, 2016

Preparing Your Business for an Earthquake

An earthquake can happen at anytime and anywhere. Unlike many other natural disasters, earthquakes can strike during any season. It can also occur with little to no warning at all. 

Earthquakes can knock out heat, power, and communications services, sometimes for days at a time, leaving people stuck without utilities or other services. Your goal for protection is to learn to Drop, Cover, and Hold On during an earthquake.

Most casualties and injuries during an earthquake occur when: people fall while trying to walk or run during the shaking; when they are hit by falling, flying, or sliding items or non-structural debris; and/or when they are struck or trapped by collapsing walls or other parts of the building.

The Americas PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for an Earthquake explains what the public should do before, during and after an earthquake:

  • To prevent potential injuries, take the time to secure your space. Secure items that might fall, fly, or slide in an earthquake. Imagine if the room was picked up and shaken up and down and side to side and then determine what items would be thrown around.
  • Make sure your business is safer during earthquakes and more resistant to earthquake damage. Get professional help to assess the buildings structure and then take steps to install nonstructural solutions, including foundation bolting and cripple wall bracing.


The Americas PrepareAthon! Prepare Your Organization for an Earthquake Playbook  explains how business owners can take the necessary steps now to prepare themselves and their staff for an earthquake.  

The playbook helps to enhance organizational coordination and communication on preparedness and operational continuity by recommending  the following:

  • Hold a preparedness discussion to explain company plans and policies to motivate employees to be better prepared at home and work;
  • Explain and practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On;
  • Conduct a tabletop exercise with your staff to ensure that the organization is familiar with and knows how to implement readiness plans;
  • Develop an employee communications plan with all staff contact information, including emergency points of contact;
  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings in your community; and
  • Organize and keep handy important documents such as insurance information and rental or mortgage agreements.


It is important that business owners discuss their plans with their employees to ensure they are aware of what to do and where to go during an earthquake threat. You can read the entire Americas PrepareAthon! Prepare Your Organization for an Earthquake Playbook here.

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Cleaning Up After a Flood

North Dakota Home Flooded

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere. 


Flooding can occur slowly over many days leaving enough time to evacuate in advance or prepare to be home for several days without power, water, or access to roads or services. Or, as in the case of flash flooding, it can happen very quickly with little or no warning and you may need to move quickly to make it to higher ground.


In the event of a flood, Americas PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Flood offers the following tips to reduce the risk of damage to your home or business: 


  • Elevate critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances, and heating systems;
  • In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the building;
  • Waterproof basement areas and make sure your sump pump is working; and
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.


After a flood, timing is of the essence. Water left in your home for a significant period of time can cause mold, and even in some cases, structural damage. It is important to clean your home as soon as possible following a flood.


Keep in mind that extreme care is necessary when cleaning out your home following a flood. Americas PrepareAthon!s how-to flood guide also provides recommendations on how to best protect yourself and your property after a flood:


  • Avoid wading in floodwaters as they often contain dangerous debris like broken glass, metal, dead animals, or contaminants, such as sewage, gasoline, and oil;
  • Do not enter a damaged building unless it has been cleared by authorities. There may be structural damage to the foundation, electrical hazards, or hidden damage;
  • Take precautions and wear appropriate protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, and masks that protect you from dust and other dangerous particles;
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or youre standing in water;
  • Shut off all utilities to a flooded home or building;
  • Clean and disinfect anything that got wet; and
  • Remove and replace any drywall or other paneling that was underwater.


The how-to guide offers more recommendations, such as when its appropriate to return home after flooding. You can read those suggestions here.  

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National African American History Month: Preparing Communities Through Partnerships

African American Webinar

In celebration of National African American History Month, on Thursday, February 25, 2016, FEMAs Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites you to a webinar focusing on engaging the public on nationwide disaster preparedness and resilience efforts serving African American communities.


This is part of a series of webinars that offer an inclusive, multicultural focus, and features leading community members sharing their insights, experiences, and perspectives.


Title: National African American History Month: Preparing Communities Through Partnerships

Date: Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST


Featured Speakers:                                 

  • Linda Wilson, Chair, Delta Emergency Response Task Force, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will discuss how fraternities and sororities can support disaster preparedness and response.
  • Jacqueline Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP will discuss what local civic organizations can do to increase preparedness.
  • Shamika Ossey, RN, BSN, PHN, Community Engagement & Resilience Consultant, South LA Teen CERT, will discuss youth preparedness and disaster response.


How to Join the Webinar:

   

 

We hope that you will be able to join us on February 25! 

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FEMA Announces Call for Youth Council Members

Youth Council Recruitment

Applications for the Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) are currently open. The deadline to submit an application is Tuesday, March 1.


The Youth Preparedness Council offers an opportunity for leaders to serve on a distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit. During their two-year term, the leaders will have the opportunity to complete a national-level group project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national youth preparedness organizations.


Council activities and projects center around five areas of engagement: programs, partnerships, events, public speaking/outreach and publishing. Members represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and share information with their communities. They also meet with FEMA on a regular basis to provide ongoing input on strategies, initiatives, and projects throughout the duration of their term.


You can find the instructions to apply on FEMAs website. 

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Dates for Your Calendar!

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Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting citizencorps@fema.dhs.gov.


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