By Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and COO.
It was the recent advent of hurricane season that gave rise to this month’s column. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and in my formative years experienced such “ladies” as Audrey, Betsy, Camille, Edith and Carmen, and witnessed first-hand the devastation these huge storms caused in my home state of Louisiana. Much later, in 1996 I saw the aftermath of Fran on Topsail Island off North Carolina’s coast, and in 2005 we all became acquainted with Katrina. In my lifetime, almost 100 hurricanes have affected the continental United States.
While all else pales when compared to the loss of life and human suffering such natural disasters as hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes and forest fires leave in their wake, the damage they cause to public infrastructure, homes and businesses is staggering. Just last August, Hurricane Irene caused an estimated $15 billion in damages as it cut a swath through the mid-Atlantic coast and up through New England (and it is listed only as the sixth costliest hurricane in U.S. history).
Having a plan in place to help a business respond to a crisis event can substantially reduce downtime and losses, but according to a 2011 survey of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMB) conducted by Symantec Corporation, at least 50 percent of SMBs are not prepared. This study focused on safeguarding business data in digital form, a critical element in disaster planning for almost any business today.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “many owners fail to properly plan and prepare for disaster situations.” According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster.” This link provides information from the SBA on disaster planning for business: http://www.sba.gov/content/disaster-planning.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notes that “Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic. Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism. Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.”
Another guide for preparedness-planning for your business can be found at: www.ready.gov/business.
Remember that you are not planning only for a “disaster.” Think of it also as an emergency management plan or a contingency plan. In an interview with the Nashville Journal, Andy Palk Wyley, board president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners, noted that “Even smaller-scale traumatic events, such as the unexpected death of an employee, benefit from advance planning. A great plan will give direction for something as big as a tornado or as small as a burst water pipe.”
Convinced? I hope so. The strongest proponents of disaster planning are those who have struggled through a catastrophic event without one.
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.