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June 22, 2010

It's Hurricane Season - Is Your Workplace Ready?

June marks the official start of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season - and weather experts predict an 85 percent chance of above-normal activity this season. Is your business ready?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges businesses, families and communities to take every possible precaution to prepare for hurricanes. And not just in coastal states. Hurricanes frequently produce flooding and other damage in neighboring states, as well.

If the 2010 activity reaches the upper end of predictions, it will be one of the most active seasons on record, with: 14-23 Named Storms, 8-14 Hurricanes and 3-7 Major Hurricanes

"Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and everyone needs to be prepared - not just those folks in hurricane prone states," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.

All businesses should prepare evacuation plans and emergency kits, and rehearse emergency evacuation routes. Emergency plans should consider the needs of all employees. If a workplace includes people with a disability, special steps to assist them may be necessary and should be incorporated into all emergency planning. Emergency kits should contain enough supplies to last at least 72 hours.

The American Society of Safety engineers (ASSE) recommends companies integrate emergency preparedness into their overall safety management systems:

    Blue_Bullet_Small  Conduct a vulnerability assessment to determine probability and impact of a loss.
    Blue_Bullet_Small  Prepare or update a response management plan, including individual responsibilities, internal and external communications and emergency response training.
    Blue_Bullet_Small  Plan ahead for business recovery from a crisis/disaster.

NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs establishes a common set of criteria that sets a foundation for disaster management, emergency management and business continuity programs. This is also a good time to consider flood insurance coverage. Learn more about protecting your business from hurricanes or other natural disasters with these links:

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