Category: Disaster Financial Readiness

Plan. Prepare. Prevail.

April 20th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

As part of the Colorado Rocky Mountain Chapter of Association of Contingency Planners, we get briefings from various organizations, companies and facilities.

On Friday, April 17th we were invited to the Federal Reserve Branch in Denver, which is actually a branch of the Kansas City Reserve Bank. Part of the briefing consisted of the normal barrage of statistics on the paper money of the United States as it flows in and out of the building and the overall system. It still amazes me that our paper money is pretty tough to last through all the stuff we put it through!

The second part of the briefing is what is of interest to this writing:
The Federal Reserve, FEMA and a couple non-profits have created several documents for employers and employees to complete as a part of ‘financial preparedness’.

Their program is titled “Plan, Prepare, Prevail.”

As part of their research to determine what resources they could provide to an employer or employee, it was discovered that $400.00 is the breakpoint for an employee. If they did not have that amount available for a health issue, new tires, unexpected car repair, etc. – they would be in trouble. If an employee is distracted at work you have problems: safety, work getting done, attitude, etc. If they have to take time off from work to resolve the issue you still have problems back at work due to the absence. Using the Federal Reserve’s education materials or trainers there can be free ‘financial education’ for your employees; also your bank might offer similar services. Per several of our chapter members that are in banking, they know their trainers use the Fed documents for training at schools – it’s your government’s resources – use them and often!

There is also a form for small businesses, if your CPA, insurance agent or banker have not given you something similar – fill it out and give it to key employees who have authority to execute these accounts if needed or save it electronically. If you save it electronically, be sure you have access from any secure location and make sure at least one other person has access.

Both forms are available on the above web site or you can order hardcopies, in English and Spanish and are PDF automated, meaning you can fill them out on-line and save the completed form.

There are blanks for all the basic financial information: bank accounts, insurance policies with contact phone numbers and account numbers. Utilities with account numbers and contact information is something I had not thought of, but getting the old bills with those numbers might not be feasible if the location of those documents is inside a burned or flooded building.

The section that gave us pause in the briefing was the last part of the form – Irreplaceable times to take during evacuation. This is what we never want to really think about or plan for — if I am at work do I race back to my office and grab the PC, phone and purse/wallet, favorite coffee mug or any of the personal stuff around my desk? If I am at home – do I grab the pictures that are in the far corner of the basement, then the empty kennels to use for scared pets or my classic 33’s and the new turntable?

We do need to consider our actions before we have to react! Doing it now gives us choices and plans – all of which can be updated or changed – but not ignored!

“The key deliverables that result from a comprehensive business continuity plan are choices. You get to decide what to do before a disaster instead of afterwards or worse, in the middle of one. It is a fact of life that most things are scarier when you have your back turned to them. Having knowledge gives you the power to act and allows you to be proactive, instead of reactive”

– David Kinlaw, CloudTweaks May 13, 2014