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News Now

CU System
Even 1 step makes a difference in preparing for disasters
MADISON, Wis. (9/2/14)--This year's theme for National Preparedness Month is "Take Action to Prepare," and taking just one step can make a difference in getting your credit union ready.
 
Click to view larger imageThese eight steps are only part of an infographic that can help credit unions kick start their disaster preparedness plans. (Agility Recovery Graphic)
"Take a single step forward," said Scott Teel, marketing director at Agility Recovery Services, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. "When it comes to disasters, any step a credit union takes will benefit its employees, members, community and business." And many of those steps don't take a lot of time, effort or money.
 
One action is creating a crisis communication plan. No matter how large or small the crisis, you must be able to communicate your status to your employees and your members, Teel told News Now.
 
"If it's a power outage that's affecting one branch, or only certain transactions can be completed on mobile banking, if you have the ability to remotely update a website with an alert, it will make it so much easier for members," he said.
 
Don't make assumptions that the cell-phone or Internet service provider will be dependable during an emergency. Think about texting people instead of calling them when cell service is down.
 
"Depending on one certain device is a gap in a preparedness plan," Teel said.
 
In order to contact them, though, you must have collected that contact information. Teel suggests updating the company's contact list. "Include personal contacts--a parent, a spouse, a friend. Have a means to communicate with them," he said.
 
Credit unions can provide something as simple as a contact card for their members. "As kids go back to school, have the parents fill out one of your cards and give it to the kids to keep in their backpacks or lockers," Teel advised. "It shows that you care for your members beyond transactions, and it keeps preparedness at the top of their mind, too."
 
National Preparedness Month is a one-month focused campaign of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Ready.gov awareness program.
 
As part of its goal to "spread the gospel of preparedness," Agility provides resources year-round for individual and businesses of all types.
 
Agility, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration and FEMA, will hold four free, half-hour webinars, starting Wednesday, for National Preparedness Month:
  • "Crisis Communications for any Organization," 2-2:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday;
  • "How to Plan for a Power Interruption ... and Recover Fast," 2-2:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 10;
  • "The Top 5 Steps for Preparedness This Year," 2-2:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 17; and
  • "If You Do Nothing Else This Year ...," 2-2:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 24.
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