Note From Julie: September is National Preparedness Month

Sep 8, 2017 | Career Development, Procedures

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and with the current headlines and pictures of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma dominating our news feeds, there’s no better time to think about and address disaster preparedness. Do you have a plan for unexpected disasters or situations that you or your company may face? If you had an hour – or even minutes – to evacuate, what would you throw in a box to take with you? If you had to call every employee in your department, do you have a contact list handy?

Not all disasters are weather related, either. Crime. Terrorism. Medical emergencies. Worksite accidents. Employee workplace issues. All of these situations require you to have a plan and be prepared. Even if things don’t go according to the plan, those who think about various disaster recovery needs, talk through them with their teams, and create some basic procedures are better off than those who ignore these things. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when a disaster will impact you and your company.

In June 2008, the city I lived in experienced one of the worst floods in U.S. history. It was unlike anything I’d ever encountered. It opened my eyes to the vital importance of having a plan, and its role in helping a business get up and running again quickly. It highlighted the value of involving the entire team in the disaster planning discussions so everyone is aware of what assets to protect or relocate. It also showed me the immensely important role administrative professionals have in helping their offices start up again in the hours and days following a disaster.

The assistants who were forward-thinking were negotiating space in hotel ballrooms before others had even thought about their evacuation plan. They were sending employees to the local warehouse stores to buy every table and folding chair they could find so they could get their office setup in vacant warehouses outside of the flood zone. They were tapping into their professional networks to access limited resources and supplies. It was an impressive and coordinated effort even in the midst of the chaos.

Being ready for a disaster – be it a fire, earthquake, flood, or other emergency – is an important part of being an admin. But how do you prepare yourself, executive, team, and office for all the potential scenarios that could arise? One way is to create your emergency contact list. I share some templates and resources on how to start yours in this week’s feature article. We’re also giving you tips on how to prepare for disasters, and sharing our experiences in dealing with the unexpected, on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

We’d also love to hear about your experiences. If you’ve ever been through a disaster of any sort, share your tips and stories with us by email. We can all learn from one another and become even more prepared ourselves when disaster strikes.

Supporting your administrative success,


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