At its peak, the freeze left over 10 million Texans without electricity, some for several days. More than 100 people died as a result of the freeze and its effects. The economic impact in Texas is estimated to be between 90 to 130 billion dollars in losses, due to lost output, property damage, impacts to government, and disruptions to supply chains. The repercussions will last for years to come. New legislation requiring power plants to weatherize establishes some safeguards, but cannot prevent another extreme weather event, nor ensure that individual households and businesses are ready to deal with the cascading effects that are sure to come.
Preparation and planning can help you, your family, and your business mitigate the challenges of extreme disruptive events. The best time to prepare and make a plan is before disaster strikes; you don’t want to be purely reactionary in emergency or disruptive situations. When the next freeze, hurricane, pandemic, or other disaster occurs, will you be ready to weather the storm?
When the freeze hit Texas, many families were unprepared for the unprecedented cold combined with the lack of power. Many fled to the homes of family or friends, or sought refuge at hotels or warming stations as they were able, but road and sidewalk conditions made it difficult to travel. Others made fires in their homes or used gas stoves to provide heat, both of which can and did lead to very dangerous situations
A family Emergency Action Plan (EAP) can help prepare you and your family to deal with unforeseen circumstances and ensure everyone’s safety.
The Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute surveyed 953 Texans about their experience and found that 75 percent of respondents lost power at some point, with 33 percent of those losing power for at least two days. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they used the oven to stay warm, 65 percent had to boil water, and 40 percent went two days or more without clean water.
Each family will have unique EAPs tailored to their specific characteristics and needs. For example, do you have young children, elderly relatives, family members with health issues or any specials needs? Once the EAPs are created, everyone should be trained in the plans and the family should practice the plans regularly. Family EAPs should consider how to execute the following steps:
Your family should also ensure that property and assets are properly documented and insured should any harm come to them during an emergency event. Not all insurance policies are the same; make sure you have adequate coverage for relevant hazards based on where you live. Become familiar with your settlement options and ensure you know how to file a claim. A good way to do this is to schedule a reassessment of your insurance with your rusted broker – you may find that your premiums may be reduced as a result of your improvements.
Many businesses are not fully prepared to handle extreme disruptions and have to scramble to adjust when operations are interrupted.
To prevent this derailment, businesses should plan ahead for how best to maintain critical operations when the electricity and internet go out, when employees can’t physically access the office, or when the workforce is significantly reduced without notice. Comprehensive business continuity planning identifies the functions that are critical to business operations and how they are accomplished, and establishes a path to prioritize and restore these functions in the aftermath of a disruptive event, or a combination of events.
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) provides clear instructions for your business to follow so operations are maintained or can resume quickly in the event of an extreme disruption. A BCP should consider employees, office space, technology, vital records, production, revenue, equipment, utilities, and third-party services. The plan needs to be supported by company leadership, be understood by all employees, and be practiced and updated regularly in order to be effective.
When an emergency or disruption occurs, you, your family, and your business need to be resilient. Proper planning will give you confidence that you are ready to recover from difficulties, adjust to new realities, and overcome hardships.
The reality is that things we have come to depend on without a second thought—such as a steady flow of electricity, internet, heat, and water—are fragile. Systems break down and we have to adjust. Having good awareness of your situation, adopting a survival mindset, creating a plan, controlling what you can control, and knowing that you, your family, and/or your business will overcome challenges is critical to getting through emergency and disruptive situations
For those families and businesses looking to be prepared to deal with future emergencies and disruptions and be confident in their ability to move through challenges safely and securely, reach out to Red Five. We can be your partner in this effort with various emergency planning and preparedness, business continuity, resiliency, physical security, privacy, and cyber security services. Red Five has decades of experience helping people feel safe, secure, and prepared. We bring professional security experience to the private sector—straight from our experiences in the Intelligence Community and Federal Law Enforcement—to ensure that bad things don’t happen to good people.
FIND OUT HOW TO BUILD EMERGENCY ACTION PLANS, BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANS, AND BUILD RESILIENCY.