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Disaster Preparedness: Form a team

Disaster Preparedness: Form a team

Emily HarkenQ. How do I prepare my business for a natural disaster? 

A. The key is being proactive and not reactive. 

There are many responsibilities a business must maintain. One of those should be routinely updating your emergency preparedness/disaster plan because disaster waits for no one and can hit at any moment. It is also imperative for those who serve oxygen patients or any other life-saving devices to keep updated records of the patient information.  

Here are a few other tips: 

Schedule it – Start by making annual updates to your company’s disaster plan. Put it on your calendar for the same time every year, so you don’t forget. 

Form a team – Delegate this responsibility to a team member or start a committee for disaster preparedness so the responsibility and the work is shared.  

Make connections – There are many different important groups and people to keep in mind when thinking about disaster planning. Start with your state and county disaster groups by Googling “(state/county) emergency management.” On their website, find the contact information and reach out by phone or email and introduce yourself and your business. You will also want to repeat this process for the governor’s office, regional FEMA office and CMS regional offices. These are the important offices that will give out direction when disasters arise.  

Gather resources – Organize a disaster manual. Visit for an example of a disaster manual, as well as other resources. The State Leaders Emergency Preparedness Committee, as well as VGM and AAHomecare, have arranged these resources and are further working together to improve reimbursement, funding and resources over the course of a natural disaster. We also have a survey we are encouraging suppliers to respond to on costs incurred during a natural disaster. Help us tell your stories to CMS/HHS and Congress.  

Emily Harken is director of operations for VGM Government Relations. Reach her at [email protected]


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