Emergency Preparedness Checklist with pencil

"Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month"

No matter where one lives or works, emergencies caused by weather, fire, wind, water and other natural or manmade disasters can strike at any time and are largely unpredictable.

SERVPRO property restoration professionals in the Peoria area remind home and business owners that preparing in advance is the best thing to do to help minimize a disaster’s impact on loved ones and property.

Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month — a time to create or update the plan for when disaster strikes.

“In the same way that people make ‘resolutions’ at the New Year, National Preparedness Month is a great time to resolve to create a plan, or review your existing plan, each and every year,” said Rick Isaacson, CEO of SERVPRO Industries LLC.

“Everyone needs a comprehensive emergency plan. Business owners also need to plan for business interruption and continuation. But equally importantly, families and businesses alike need immediate access to data like emergency and insurance contacts, shut-off valves, electrical panel locations and the line of command to authorize work so emergency responders can react quickly and appropriately during the emergency. This month’s focus on preparedness is a great incentive for both families and businesses to put a plan in place and review it regularly.”

Creating an emergency plan is straightforward, according to Isaacson. No matter what type of threats exist — wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes or other natural or manmade disasters — tools are available from FEMA at ready.gov with guidelines for preparing emergency food, water and medical supplies; planning for special needs; and creating communication and evacuation plans. These tools and others, like the SERVPRO READY app, also help store essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes. Both home and business owners can download the free app at ready.servpro.com/home/mobileapp.

Local business owners can take an additional preparedness step by designating their local SERVPRO franchise 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 to be stored in the READY app.

“The key to getting your life or business back on track is timely response after a disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to take the time to record and store your information electronically, and then commit to a time — like National Preparedness Month — to review and update your records at least once each year,” Isaacson said.

“Remember, filing cabinets and their contents may be inaccessible or even destroyed in an emergency situation, so don’t depend on them to keep track of critical insurance, property or contact information in the event of a disaster. Store your data electronically. If disaster strikes, you’ll have the information you need literally at your fingertips.”

SERVPRO specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup and repair services, helping to remediate damage for commercial and residential customers. For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, visit servpro.com. For more information on SERVPRO in the Peoria area, contact Robert Siegler at 623-376-9779 or servpro8679@earthlink.net.