The Covid-19 pandemic is a tough reminder that ‘Disasters don’t wait. Make your plan today”
Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month to promote the importance of family and community disaster planning. This year’s theme, “Disasters don’t wait. Make your plan today,” resonates strongly as local communities and communities around the world battle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Before Covid-19 exploded into a global crisis, ‘disaster preparedness’ for the everyday home or business owner was largely dictated by the hazards unique to their location or their business,” said Rick Isaacson, CEO of Servpro Industries, LLC. “For some, that meant preparing for hurricanes and water damage; for others, tornadoes, flooding, wind damage, or even wildfires. But Covid-19 taught us that everyone – individuals and business owners alike – needs to be prepared for a national emergency that may disrupt food and medical supplies, transportation systems, schools, businesses, and every single aspect of everyday life that we take for granted. We’ve learned that, no matter where you live or work, in addition to your ‘disaster’ preparations, making certain that you have a stock of some basic items on hand can make a huge difference if a national or global event suddenly disrupts – or even stops – everyday life.”
Isaacson emphasized that everyone still needs to have a disaster preparedness plan in place. FEMA provides easy-to-use disaster planning guidelines at ready.gov.
Isaacson said Covid-19 has taught us we need to rethink and add to our disaster-preparedness toolkits. “We are all still struggling with a ‘disaster’ that has disrupted not only our lives and our jobs, but our entire community, our society, and the supply chain that we depend on.” While in retrospect, the shortages of some of these items have become the stuff of urban legend, Isaacson says it’s a good idea to stockpile a supply of items for which there are no easy substitutes.
“Toilet paper; yeast and flour for breadmaking; detergents; canned foods, fruits, and vegetables; pet foods and cat litter; fresh dairy items; diapers; and a host of other items were in short supply for weeks at the beginning of the crisis,” said Isaacson. “Think back on those weeks and keep a supply of the things that you just don’t want to do without – along with some shelf-stable dairy items, dried beans, and frozen meals. Use them before they expire but be sure to replace them.”