Have a Plan
Having a plan is key to ensuring that your organization will be able to recover from a disaster. Think about what you will do if people are at your location when an event happens. What will you do if you need to shelter in place? What about evacuate?
Also consider your organization's mission - what services do you provide, and what will happen if these services are no longer available during a disaster? The more essential your services are to the population you serve, the more important it becomes to ensure that these services experience minimal disruption due to an emergency.
When making a plan, there are 3 main populations to consider - the population you serve, the organization's staff, and the volunteers. Your plan needs to account for all three of these populations, and consider what you will do if staff or volunteers are not available due to injury, evacuation, or even death. It is also a good idea to plan for what to do if someone (or a group of people) asks to volunteer with your agency after a disaster. Do you need to do a background check, skills assessment, or other process before allowing someone to volunteer? How will you provide any training or supplies necessary? How will you identify people who are approved to volunteer with your organization?
Backing up data is also a very important measure in the event of an emergency. Consider what you would do if you lost all of your files, and how that would impact your ability to complete your agency's goals. If you are a support agency, think about establishing a process to check in with those you serve following a disaster - if you work with those who are older adults or those who have access and functional needs, they might not have someone else who can check with them to see what their needs are.
Get a Kit
In addition to strongly encouraging your staff, volunteers, and population to have personal emergency preparedness kits, you should also have an organizational emergency kit. This kit should include supplies for sheltering in place during a disaster, a copy of your emergency plan that has been printed out, and backups of key files.
Being informed is the best way to stay safe. Check out our emergency notification page for more information.