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Peace of Mind in Times of Crisis: Emergency Preparedness in the Wake of Natural Disasters

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Whether you own a business, other property, or only have your home to worry about, there is always the worry of your ability to protect your property in cases of natural disasters. In the wake of a natural disaster, many people try to take advantage of the situation, resulting in crimes like looting and fraud. This article holds key insight in preventative measures and the proper emergency response to minimize losses and protect your property.

Crime Tends to Rise After Natural Disasters

After natural disasters, like the fires in Southern California, property crime rises in occurrence at great rates. People see mandatory evacuations of homes as the perfect time to take advantage and break in, using the vulnerable situation for their purposes. When in crisis, law enforcement is working hard making sure all citizens are safe, but this means that there is less presence in the evacuated and damaged areas.

A huge issue, and one that’s become worse as time moves forward, is fraud. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Justice created the National Center for Disaster Fraud, meaning it’s become an important enough national issue that the government is trying to manage it. Because of the lack of protection both physically and online after a natural disaster, people use the situation to commit insurance fraud, property crime, and other offenses. These instances of fraud occur so frequently that it hinders insurance companies’ ability to respond to legitimate cases. With insurance companies incapable of keeping up, a community’s ability to recover and rebuild slows down too.

After a natural disaster, there tend to be shortages of food and water, and many people end up displaced and without a home. Huge areas can be destroyed, extremely impairing the infrastructures for security reporting, and making alarm response and summoning help difficult. This is a huge issue for dealing with injuries and crimes in the immediate aftermath, and can put a lot of people in danger. Because of this, many communities have turned to private companies, and people are unaware of just how much help they provide.

A paper from Temple University reports that many mayors and governors have made statements about their positive work with the private sector in preparing for natural disasters, with both for-profit and not-for-profit groups. The paper labels these relationships as “public-private partnerships (PPPs).” Partnering with private companies gives the local and national government much-needed help, by an organization that is trained to aid in these specific situations. Private security, for example, can specialize in alarm response, and can provide extra help in those key hours after a natural disaster.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 25 million Americans were affected by natural disasters in 2017. In response to these dire circumstances, in June of 2019 Congress passed a $19 billion disaster package, which included $50 million to go to public-private partnerships to “support coastal resiliency.” The government is understanding the service provided by NGOs, and that working together is how to ensure a better response and preparation for natural disasters.

How to Protect Your Investments During Hard Times

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In case of a natural disaster, there are both preemptive measures and post-disaster actions to help secure your property and ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. Taking preemptive action, meaning preparing for trauma before it happens, allows for a smoother, and better response to the natural disaster.

 
The first, and arguably most important preemptive action is to get insurance. A natural disaster is a rare occurrence, but not rare enough that the risk of not getting insurance to save money is worth it. To physically prepare for these situations, you need to have resources put in a safe place for when you need them. A great option is to have an emergency kit put together, including items like long-lasting food, water, and medical supplies, in a safe place that everyone in the family knows about it. Along with that, make an emergency plan, and repeatedly go over it with your family so that it will be easy to remember during a stressful situation.

Natural disasters create many security risks, particularly concerning the invisible forces in our lives: data. Keeping data secure is a difficult task, especially during a natural disaster. In order to maintain our own security, we need things like consistent service to allow for communication and security reporting. As Data Center Knowledge reported, during Hurricane Harvey, which hit Houston, Texas in 2017, Data Foundry’s staff stayed at work for days in order to keep systems up and running. Amazingly, they managed to have no interruptions during the emergency.

For businesses, protecting your property and data begins in the construction and location of your business. Many places have earthquake protection built into their structures, with a bedrock foundation and secure wall structures. Along with that, they should have extensive stored food and water resources for staff and the community, as well as cooling water and fuel, as Tom Kelly discusses in his article for ID Experts. You need to backup with hard drives, have generators and uninterruptible power systems, and have connections with organizations for cleanup and debris removal. While all of this is key to protecting the data of your business, it also helps protect the data of your clients and the surrounding community.

Whether you own a business or not, after a natural disaster has occurred, make sure to listen to the advice of the organizations overseeing the area. If they tell you to evacuate, do it as soon as possible, and this is where having a great emergency plan pays off. Try to only rely on the support of your close network of people in your life, both for physical aid and emotional support, as not all strangers have good intentions. Natural disasters put everyone in vulnerable positions. But with smart preparation and the ability to respond efficiently to any event, you can manage to live out peace of mind. For more security and safety insights, check out https://blog.teamsignal.com/ to subscribe to our bi-weekly services blog.

 

 

 

 

 

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