National Preparedness Month Webinars for Businesses

September is National Preparedness Month in the US and to help promote preparedness across the whole community, FEMA is partnering with the Small Business Administration and their consultant Agility Recovery to spread the word to the business community.  Below is information on a webinar series with topics to help prepare your business!  

Get Your Business Ready For Any Kind of Disaster at Free National Preparedness Month Webinar Series

 WASHINGTON – Each year small businesses nationwide are forced to close their doors in the aftermath of severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Business interruptions, even if they last just a few hours, are costly in terms of lost productivity and profits.

 You can get help with your own business preparedness planning through a series of free webinars in September hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery.   The September series is presented in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign as part of National Preparedness Month.  

 The SBA wants to help business owners take charge of the well-being of their own companies, the safety of their employees, and the sustenance of their local economies by being prepared to rebound quickly from any kind of disaster.

 The half-hour webinars will be presented at 2 p.m., Eastern time, each Wednesday in September. Visit http://snurl.com/296yw4e to register for any or all of the webinars listed below:

 September 3: Crisis Communications for Any Organization

Learn best practices for developing an emergency communication strategy.

 September 10: How to Plan for a Power Interruption…and Recover Fast

Tips on how to make your company resilient and better prepared to mitigate losses during power outages.

 September 17: The Top 5 Steps for Preparedness This Year

The top five ways to prepare for disaster-related business interruptions will be discussed.

 September 24: If You Do Nothing Else This Year

Simple, low-cost tips on building a solid business continuity plan.

 SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery to offer business continuity strategies through their “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to check out the archived webinars and for more disaster preparedness tools.

Red Cross ReadyRating Program

I recently sat through a webinar on the Red Cross ReadyRating Program.  Admittedly, I’ve perused their site before, and even recommended their services – which I certainly understood – but I never realized how in-depth their program goes.  The webinar was hosted by Agility Recovery, who regularly puts on brief and informative programs of good quality. 

The ReadyRating program is a web-based service, absolutely free of charge, that provides businesses, organizations, and schools with a free disaster readiness assessment tool.  The tool seems to be useful to entities large and small, even allowing larger businesses or organizations with multiple locations to conduct an assessment for each location folded in under the same account.  The user answers questions and the tool quantifies the entity’s measure of preparedness and provides customized reports showing various data in a variety of formats (charts, report card, etc).  ReadyRating apparently even grades the amount of community participation the entity has relative to preparedness efforts (see my previous post re: Public-Private Partnerships).  The tool also enables creation of a customized emergency response plan – something I’m a little cautious of (generally speaking, I’m not in favor of ‘fill in the blank’ planning) – but I’ve not actually used the tool, so I can’t speak from direct experience on it.

ReadyRating refers to their users as ‘members’ – and they have a fairly impressive membership, both in numbers (2,689 businesses and organizations, 570 schools) as well as in names (they list the likes of Anheuser Busch, Grainger, Monsanto, and others).  Feedback from members is very favorable, and the tool provides for the ability to do re-assessments and showing progress to the user – that’s great encouragement to them!  They even show comparisons with other members (anonymously) (comparisons are provided nationally, state-wide, number of employees, and by industry).

ReadyRating is quite an impressive tool – and it’s free!  I have it listed on the links page of my company’s website – Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC along with other resources.  Check it out!