William B. “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was a prominent presence throughout Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as he directed the government’s recovery efforts in the stricken regions.
|Want more? Enjoy a free subscription to Aftermarket Business World magazine to get the latest news in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry. Click here to start your subscription today.|
In cooperation with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Long and FEMA’s staff have provided responses to questions raised by business owners interested in developing pre-disaster plans for their operations. The answers have been edited for clarity by Aftermarket Business World:
Q: What types of planning can be pursued on an immediate basis?
A: Assess the hazards that could potentially affect your organization and plan for those first. For example, is your facility vulnerable to flooding, or how could an electrical outage affect your ability to provide services? Form a planning team, identify a leader, designate an alternate facility, and plan for staff with special needs.
Communicate with your staff about your preparedness plan. If your organization has a specific mission for disaster response activities, review and drill your plan.
Q: What is the Private Sector Preparedness Program (PS-Prep)?
A: PS-Prep is a voluntary program designed to build awareness and give private sector entities of all sizes the ability to safeguard their organizations against the effects of any type of disruption – natural or human-induced – equipping owners with key processes to improve their organization’s ability to maintain operations during and after an emergency or disaster.
PS-Prep offers a private sector entity a path to assess and meet nationally recommended standards for levels of emergency preparedness. Many are not aware of the important role that standards play in our day-to-day lives; products may not work as expected, bridges and roads may be impassable, buildings would take longer to re-build, and may be unsafe to inhabit.
Q: What makes this preparedness program different from other programs?
A: PS-Prep can offer organizations several options toward preparedness, whether it’s following best practice programs, aligning to a standard, or certifying to a standard. Many are not aware of the important role that standards play in our day-to-day lives; products may not work as expected, bridges and roads may be impassable, buildings would take longer to re-build and may be unsafe to inhabit.
Q: Is the program mandatory?
A: No. PS-Prep is a voluntary program in which private sector entities are encouraged to participate to ward off the detrimental effects that can result from operational interruptions.
Q: Who oversees the certification?
A: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Safety for Quality (ASQ) and its affiliated National Accreditation Board (ANAB) has been selected to develop and oversee PS-Prep certification and manage the process through independent auditors. Certification costs will vary depending on the scope of the conformity assessment. Visit the ANSI website for further details about qualified certification bodies who can audit your preparedness program.
Q: What are the procedures if I’m interested in buying flood insurance?
A: Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance. Know what is and is not covered. Ask about your deductible. Contents are not covered by a building/structure flood policy. You’ll need another policy for contents within the building.