ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Preparing for Disaster,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Donovan Woods, director of operations for the Fuels Institute, talk with Dan Halyburton, advance public affairs team with American Red Cross, about emergency preparedness.
Volunteers from all walks of life rally whenever there’s a situation in their community, and convenience retailers are often part of the first wave of responders. What makes convenience stores even more effective partners after a disaster is preparing ahead of time.
“We have seen over and over again, when people make the right kind of preparation and they are prepared for disasters, they just respond better,” Halyburton said. “They’re more likely to come out the other side with the least amount of damage. … For businesses … you’ve got to be ready for whatever comes your way.”
With the 2018 hurricane season underway, Halyburton strongly recommended that retailers stay on top of the news related to their communities. “We get good advance warnings,” he said. “Although every once in a while, we’ll get a surprise, as a storm can move or change quickly.”
As retailers keep themselves informed of a potential storm or other disaster, they should also make sure they are prepared ahead of time, so that they can move quickly once something happens. “Being ready to go at the beginning of the season … will help an operator be in much better shape should they have a hurricane,” Halyburton said.
On a personal note, Halyburton also reminded listeners to write down important phone numbers in case of cell tower outages or loss of electricity, and also to have important papers gathered in one spot for quick retrieval. “Communications are really critical … because if your phone is lost or it dies, who remembers your mom’s home phone number?” he said.
NACS has many resources to assist retailers in disaster preparedness, relief and recovery. In addition, our coverage of the aftermath of 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria recently won a writing award from Association Media & Publishing. In our articles, we discussed how the convenience industry aided their communities in times of disaster.
Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. The podcast can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play and other podcast apps, and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners more than 48,000 times in more than 95 countries.