Several of our members’ personal and professional lives were disrupted by the recent Hurricane Sandy. Shortly after the storm, the Academy’s Director of Member Services, Susan Russel, conducted a conference call discussing the steps to take in case of a disaster or emergency. Preparation is key in these situations, so I wanted to share the main tips discussed on the call. Even if you weren’t affected by Hurricane Sandy, this will apply to any case of disaster or emergency you may encounter.
Keep People Informed
Make it known to the public if your office has to close. Have “Office Closed” announcements on public listings of closures and include a phone number to contact for emergencies. Make a post on Facebook stating the anticipated closure times of your office. Be sure to provide daily updates if possible. Also, print out your calendars for the next two to three weeks with contact information. Reschedule appointments as needed and plan to meet somewhere else, if necessary.
Back-up all onsite and offsite computers, then check and double check the back-up to confirm it saved everything needing to be saved. You can also access your server, database and email through Outlook, by setting up a LogMeIn, GoToMyPC or other remote access accounts. Have a plan if the power goes out and you can’t access your server data, client info, email, etc. It is also a great idea to keep a small generator on hand to recharge phones and other electronic devices you may need.
When disasters happen, we are reminded that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. However, if you follow these tips on the things you can control, it will add some organization to the chaotic environment encountered during a disaster or emergency.
Social Media and Membership Coordinator
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555