Life has its ups and downs and in some cases, there are unexpected life-changing situations. After the last events in Greece (Wildfires July 2018) we’ve gained more mature awareness about prevention and recovery planning. Sooner or later, we all gonna face stressful conditions that are beyond our power to cope with.
Making an effort to set a plan of crisis management and be ready to react, could be a lifesaver in a moment of need. Knowing what to do after a disaster can make a huge difference for a speedy recovery.
How to Recover from a Disaster
Life can be unpredictable.
All regions in different countries across the planet may face extreme weather conditions. Hopefully, Athens in Greece has a mild climate but still, we had our share in unwelcoming heat, rain, severe storms or lack of rain for months. Climate changes have become the new reality for every person on earth.
Weather or natural disasters can quickly transform a healthy and organized city into a deserted world. Our lives can turn udside down within hours. So it is good to be prepared and expect the unexpected. To be honest, the frequency of extreme weather phenomena the last 10 years, have made them part of our everyday routine.
How to stay safe
We have gathered our top safety practices for making your life easier under pressure:
- First of all get to know the places you live or work and be able to move freely around even in the dark.
- Spot where are the stairs, where are the fire distinguishers, clear all main exits from obstacles, keep a ready-to-go-bag with all the necessary items (water, solid energy food, first aid kit, medicines, soap, radio, flashlight, whistle, batteries, power banks, extra mobile phone, a knife, matches, copies of your main documentation papers, list of all emergency telephone numbers and some light extra clothes & underwears). It would be quite helpful if you had this kind of bags in 3 or 4 different locations on your exit roadmap.
- Planning to have regular evacuation exercises from your home or work location.
- Plan ahead how family members should react in case of an emergency. Plan. Practice. Repeat. Ensure that all family members are included in your escape plan. It’s only logical to have different plans ready for fire, flood, attacks, storms, tornado or earthquake.
- Make sure that you do the same with your colleagues at work.
- Learn the main first aid practices. Form a circle of family members that are also familiar with first aid. Also, make this a priority at work.
- Have an easy to understand maps of your building in a wall that can guide people with safety to escape doors.
- Locate where are the nearest hospitals, fire departments, police stations and public open areas and try to reach them with speed walk, at least once a month and in different hours of the day.
- Make it a habit to know the area that you are living or you are just visiting.
- Activate emergency speed dials on your mobile device.
- Try to keep informed your closed people about your daily routine or plans.
When such events happen, planning ahead is crucial for keeping people safe and the business moving forward. Prevention – most of the times – cost less than fixing things afterward… Let’s see some recovery actions:
- Make sure that everyone is safe. Check verbally about the condition of all people within your family or working facilities. If some people are injured then it is a priority to comfort their pain. Headcounts are important in case of missing people. Keeping a list with all the names, including visitors could be vital for their health.
- If your house or business facility cannot provide a safe shelter, please try to find the nearest open area location. Move together as a group to that location.
- If there is an issue of security about certain files or pieces of equipment, it would be preferable to have prior determine which and how to store in case of an emergency.
- Store water, food and first aid kits in easy to access locations around your facilities.
- Always keep backups of your digital assets and files.
- Do not carry a huge amount of cash on you.
- Have an extra pair of athletic shoes & socks near your working space.
- If your working area is compromised try to postpone important tasks for another day. If your life is in danger it won’t benefit you to keep working.
- Always have a second remote working location ready to fill in the gap when you can not work.
- Nowadays most employees can work from home. Digital technology has offered this option.
- Everyone in the family or the company should have the same crisis action plan on hand and follow the given instructions. Who to call, what to do, how to react on social media, how to communicate, where to look for help etc.
- You should have on your speed-dial list the most important numbers: police, fire, insurance broker, emergency centers, hospitals, family, etc
- Set prior to any dramatic event when and how often you should communicate with your family, your associates, your business partners and other C-Level company members.
- Have your HR Department ready to act under this kind of events.
- Set specific funds for emergency use.
- Have an operational team ready to govern the crisis waves. (With all possible scenarios active)
- Always plan ahead and follow the given guidelines.
- Communicate with all teams around the clock.
- Provide assistance in all levels if possible.
- Establish a call tree within the family and within company members.
- Have ready a crisis relief strategy plan ALSO in your digital assets. Do not permit rumors to destroy you.
Build Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Evaluate the situation, write down all the needs and start the recovery process the next day.
- If you don’t already have one then find the nearest qualified emergency restoration provider. Have in mind to check it with your insurance broker before the contracts are signed.
- They will secure your home or business facilities immediately and start the restoration or/and recovery process within 24 hours.
- Have a clear official evaluation of safety records, experience levels and solid recommendations for all technical and restoration providers.
- Check, confirm, reset financial loose ends.
- Inform your bank or any other organizations about your condition and make use of a relief time period on your account. It is common to show some kind of acceptance in cases of emergency events.
- If there are pending orders try to communicate with all vendors or clients and ask for some extra time of delivery.
- Use your secondary list of suppliers if there is a need for new supplies.
- Communicate in public that you are experiencing a disaster and let your clients the benefit to choose if they want to cancel their orders.
- Also, communicate publicly (press conference, emails, social media posts, website announcements, PR press releases) that you are working to restore regular operations and services as quickly as possible.
- In case you have done any pitfall, accept the responsibility for your decisions.
- Stay connected with your insurance and law advisor.
- Inform your insurance provider for any loss as soon as possible. Take photos before any restorations or helping crews arrive. Try to communicate your loss to your insurance company so you can claim a payment sooner.
- Make a list with specific details about: A) what was damaged, B) the cause or suspected cause, C) The day and time it happened, D) all the info for the contact person, E) your steps to secure your home or business facilities.
How to be always ready
Keep the people trained with regular trial exercises. Practice is the mother of expertise, isn’t it? Having members of your company or family ready to get in a disaster-recovery-plan-mood can save lives.
Everyone should understand what they must do during a stressful event when time runs against our safety. Feeling comfortable to perform all necessary actions takes a lot of time and energy. Carrying out demanding responsibilities is easier said than done. So it is wise to live practice your guidance book at least 3 or 4 times per year. Put lights off and start practice now!
Take into consideration to define who will be responsible for reaching out to public aid organizations, such as the Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC, or any other national aid organizations.
PR after a Disaster
In some cases, famous people or business, do need a professional PR support to communicate and handle the crisis management, after a disaster. Please, have ready a plan of PR actions if you belong to this category. Hire the best fit as your PR Agency and let them act on your behalf for matters that you won’t have either the time or the energy to deal with.
It is a demanding task to communicate the right message with the right voice to the public. Let the PR Agency swim in the dark waters of publicity. Outsource an external communication team as soon as possible. Save your energy to do the heavy work behind the curtains.
Before sign a contract with a PR Agency, clarify:
- Who will be the face of your voice
- What they will say in all possible scenarios
- How often will they post updates in the official digital assets
- Who and How will manage different teams in different locations
But as you can see, there is no end if you want to stay on the top of this kind of circumstances. Try to keep calm and stay in low key if you want to recover as soon as possible. So the more planning you do ahead the more ready you gonna be and you will perform better under the stress of the moment.
If you don’t already have a disaster recovery plan in place, you can create one starting right now. There is no better time like now! What are you waiting for?
Useful Links about protection
- Red Cross Greece
- Civil Protection Greece
- Types of Emergency by Red Cross
- How to prepare for a wildfire
- PREPARE NOW GUIDELINES
Why Ideadeco Team created this post
It is the least we can do to offer some tips on how to stay safe after a disaster. We are a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency but beyond and above all, we are humans that care for our community. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Areti Vassou & Ideadeco Team
How to help the survivors
CNN has gathered in this article the Nonprofit organizations and crowdsourcing campaigns which are helping those affected and can be supported through the given links. Read more at: Help the victims of the Greece wildfires