Wick Communications

Planning for the worst

In Ideas on June 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

Do you have a disaster checklist?

Probably not. You probably should, however, and you might find some help out of Oklahoma.

It is abundantly obvious – from floods in South Dakota and fires in Arizona – that really bad things can happen at any time. While you can’t prepare for every possibility, it’s best to consider them now and devise a plan for the day something terrible happens in your area.

The Oklahoma Press Association has produced a four-page “Disaster Checklist for Newspapers.” It’s five years old, but some of this stuff never goes bad. From the checklist:

The newspaper has a very unique and important responsibility to the community in times of disaster and must plan to operate in a crisis. Developing a checklist of items leads to the development of a disaster plan, which will provide the publisher and staff confidence that they are prepared to fulfill their obligation to their community, neighbors, family and friends.  In times of crisis you are needed more than ever! …

The checklist begins with a suggestion that you rank the most likely calamities in your area. Are you in tornado alley or the path of a hurricane? Are you more likely to suffer from summer fires or spring floods? The answers to those questions will lead you to particular precautions you should take now.

From there, the checklist asks dozens of questions, including who on the staff knows CPR, what other newspapers might help you publish in a pinch, and whether your insurance covers the most likely losses.

When the checklist is finished, the document suggests priorities, the most important of which is the safety of everyone in your operation.

The Wick Communications website contains information specific for our employees. Don’t assume that a mudslide blocking the way to work or even a fire that burns down the building means a day off. As the Employee Message Center on the Wick website notes, you are to call your supervisor, then, if you can’t find her, the newspaper’s website. If you still haven’t reached anyone with information following a localized disaster, call the Wick home office in Sierra Vista, Ariz.: 1 800 777-9425.

Take a look at the Oklahoma checklist. See if you can’t adapt it for your use.

Clay

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