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Two web pages offer disaster preparation tips.

In the midst of one of the worst hurricane seasons in memory; the American Red Cross is urging employers to take precautions to ensure they can withstand a natural or man-made disaster and protect their employees and customers.

The organization has posted a "Business & Industry Guide" on its Web site (www.redcross.org) to help employers, especially small businesses, prepare for disasters that can affect operations. According to the guide, as many as 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen in the aftermath of a tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake

The guide lists several suggestions for employers to help prepare for a disaster, including the following:

* Keep phone lists of key employees and customers handy and provide copies to top staff members;

* If your business has a voice mail system, designate a remote number on which emergency messages can be recorded for employees;

* Stock a minimum supply of the goods, materials, and equipment needed for business continuity;

* Bolt tall bookcases or display cases to wall studs so they do not fall easily; and

* Keep emergency supplies handy, including a first aid kit, flashlights with batteries, and food and water.

The guide also urges employers to develop a disaster plan in the event an emergency occurs. A survey conducted for the Red Cross earlier this year found that fewer than half of workers had received disaster planning information and/or training from their employers during the previous 12 months.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is urging businesses to prepare for disasters as well and has launched a new "Ready Business" initiative to help companies take steps to be better prepared for a disaster or terrorist attack. The initiative is designed to elicit and share best practices and suggestions that will help employers protect their employees, customers, facilities, and communities.

The initiative comprises three elements: plan to stay in business, talk to your people, and protect your investment. Each element addresses several topics, such as continuity planning, crisis communication, utility disruptions, and practicing a disaster preparedness plan.

Information about the initiative is available online at www.rea@gov/ business/index.html.
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Title Annotation:Info Sources
Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:352
Previous Article:Web site, two reports highlight older workers.
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