termination-110301_640A Disaster Plan for You, Your Family, and Your Business

Health care organizations need HIPAA disaster plans to comply with regulations and also because it is smart business. While disasters can happen anywhere and anytime, this time of year always sees an overlap of threats, so it is a good opportunity to review your disaster plan and make sure you are prepared. It doesn’t matter if you are near hurricanes in the East, tornadoes through the Heartland, wildfires in the West, or storms and flooding anywhere. There are some basic things you can put into a disaster plan to protect yourself and your family, and make sure your business or medical practice can survive anything from a minor disruption to a major disaster. The Red Cross has a lot of good information you can use to create a family or business disaster plan.

Safety

No business is worth driving through flooded waters, past downed power lines, through severe storms, or in violation of travel bans. Waiting until things are safe will ensure that you are available to help your family and your employer. You can replace things but you can’t replace people.

Make Safety the number one priority in your disaster plan, way ahead of anything else. Know where you will evacuate to, and be prepared to shelter in place. Be prepared to evacuate with a ‘go-bag’ that has critical necessities, including medicine, eyeglasses, and personal hygiene supplies. Have enough safe water, non-perishable food, and supplies in your house and office to survive for a few days without assistance if it is not safe to leave. Your disaster plan should include preparations for different types of weather.

Communications

Write down critical phone numbers in your disaster plan in case your cell phone dies. Know where your family and business colleagues will meet if phones go out. Use text messages to communicate during a disaster, because they use fewer resources and will get through when voice calls can’t. Have backup batteries to keep cell phones charged or use your car charger if the power is out. Use a hand-crank weather radio to stay abreast of current warnings. Sign up everyone’s cell phone numbers in your community’s emergency alerting system.

Cars

Fill your gas tank when you first are warned of a possible disaster. Gas pumps won’t work without power.

Technology

Make sure critical data files are backed up in multiple places. If you have to evacuate take critical equipment with you or seal it against water damage. List critical items in your disaster plan so you don’t forget them when you are stressed.

Generators

Never run generators indoors. Make sure you have enough fuel for at least 3 days. Store gasoline in approved containers and use a fuel stabilizer to keep it fresh. Turn the generator off periodically to give it a rest and save fuel, but make sure it is on long enough to keep your refrigerator cold.

Common Sense

The best way to survive a disaster is to use common sense and not panic.  Prepare your family and business with a written disaster plan and kits for different scenarios. Talk with your family and colleagues so they know what to do. Testing your plans at home and office will make everyone more confident once they know where they are to go and what they will do. Don’t wait for the disaster instead of practicing.

Most of all, keep a cool head for your own safety and your family’s. A simple disaster plan will not take a lot of effort but can pay off with your survival.

"originally written for 4MedApproved"