ESD#5 tells businesses to prepare for disasters

By Lewis Spearman

CROSBY – At the last luncheon of the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce at Crosby Church, Christy Graves of H.C.E.S.D.#5 the grant and award winning ambulance service for Crosby discussed the necessity of businesses preparing for disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods to mention a few that are likely to happen in this area., the business preparation for disasters is a part of the Ready or Not Program being encouraged by the agency that is most prepared to handle emergencies in this area.

Ms. Graves told the Star-Courier, “ It is essential we assist our community in being as prepared as they can before disaster strikes.We want to be ahead of disasters in this community not behind them. By giving the proper guidance and assistance in advance we able to better respond after the incident subsides, lessen the loss of life and get back to our normal day to day lives.”

Graves continued, “Although this lecture was designed to assist the business infrastructure in Crosby with disaster planning, we also do workshops for the public. If anyone is interested please contact Christy Graves, Director of Operations at Harris County ESD 5 at 281-328-6810.”

All of this falls at a time when Tropical Storm Debby was threatening Texas but ended up running away and the wildfires were sprouting in Woodland Park, Colorado. Texans remember that Rita had one set of problems and Ike three years later had another. Both business and individual families should prepare a “Grab it and go” preparation bag that contains emergency need provisions put together so that folks can grab that container and leave immediately. Businesses and individuals should make plans now before the disaster strikes and businesses should determine how they will open up again after the disaster passes. Businesses need establish an authority to make decisions. They need to form a team to plan what to do in the event of disasters. Businesses need to establish a goal or mission for the business as relates to re-opening. Businesses need establish a time frame and budget to begin to re-open.

Businessses need to analyze capabilities and hazards for their needs. They need to meet with outside agencies to determine what needs to be done. Talking with other businesses can also be educational. Assessment is needed for potential impact on sales and property. A review of company policies is generally needed and that includes insurance policies. Resources that are helpful for the company need to be identified before the disaster. Planners should do a risk chart that outlines matters such as potential emergencies and find recommendable actions.

These plans and information should then go into development. Establish emergency proceedures. All business support documents or copies should be secured. An emergency call list should be made. Maps should be made on how to safely shut the business down and procedeures should be made to shut the business down. A list of where staff will flee to should be kept and should have phone numbers for each employee.

The plan should be finalized with policy guidlines, a recovery plan should be established. Train employees and conduct drills needs to be done. Plans should be revised as businesses grow.

A trove of websites and information can be obtained by calling (281) 328-6810.