September is National Preparedness Month


Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsors National
Preparedness Month ( to highlight the importance of
being prepared for the unexpected. This is good advice for everyone; but
for business owners, being prepared to respond to the aftermath of natural
or man-made disasters can literally mean the difference between staying in
business and closing the doors forever. According to FEMA*, up to 40
percent of businesses never reopen following a major disaster; just a
couple of inches of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Tony Blodgett, Owner of SERVPRO® of Cass and St. Joseph Counties, says,
“When disaster strikes, you need to be ready to immediately assess the
situation and take the first critical steps to protect your employees and
property from further damage. The key is having a plan in place before you
need it. You can afford to take time now to gather the necessary
information and create a recovery plan, but you can’t afford that time
after a disaster. That’s a time for action, not planning.”

Preparedness planning tools like the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Program
( can help business owners know exactly who to call
and what to do when disaster strikes. Under this Program, a business owner
works with a SERVPRO® of Cass and St. Joseph Counties disaster recovery
specialist to create an Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) for their facility,
at no charge. This comprehensive document contains critical information
about the business, including emergency contact information, shut-off
valve locations and priority areas. Having this information in hand helps
business owners and SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals react to an
unexpected event quickly and effectively, to help minimize business
interruption. And, because disasters are unexpected, there is a Smartphone
app and web version of the Program available to provide business owners
with access to their ERP 24/7.

Recognizing that the best way to deal with a disaster is to take steps to
prevent damage in the first place, SERVPRO® is also a National Sponsor of
the American Red Cross Ready Rating ProgramTM. This free, web-based
program, available at, uses a 123-point self-assessment to
help homeowners, business owners, organizations and schools assess their
level of preparedness for weather-related or other emergencies in advance.
While the Ready Rating Program focuses on disaster readiness, the
Emergency READY Program recognizes that, when disaster does strike, fast
response is the key to controlling damage and downtime. Together, these
two programs provide an end-to-end approach to disaster preparedness.

“When it comes to disaster readiness planning, it just makes sense to take
advantage of the tools that are available, especially when they are
offered at no charge,” said Blodgett. “The first few minutes after a
disaster strikes are often chaotic and very emotional. Minutes lost
searching for shut-off valves, fire suppression system controls, or
emergency contact numbers can mean further property loss, and worse. With
the information in a business’s ERP, our experienced technicians can move
into action effectively and immediately to help minimize damage and set
the business on the road to recovery.”

SERVPRO® professionals specialize in disaster restoration, cleanup and
repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never
even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more
information on SERVPRO® of Cass and St. Joseph Counties, please contact
Tony Blodgett at (269) 273-8777 or For more
information about SERVPRO, please visit

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