Why the tornado damage may linger forever

HENRYVILLE, IN - MARCH 04:  Lori Hall searches...

HENRYVILLE, IN - MARCH 04: Lori Hall searches for items to salvage in the home of her aunt and uncle after it was destroyed by Friday's EF-4 tornado March 4, 2012 in Henryville, Indiana. At least 37 deaths have been reported from the storm, 4 in Henryville, which ravaged parts of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The recent tornado outbreak in southern Indiana was a tragedy in every sense and we may feel the effects long after the clean up is complete.

Rolling through on March 2, these storms spawned a category 4 monster that knocked over buildings, uprooted trees, and killed at least thirteen people. Clark County Sheriff Department Maj. Chuck Adams, while referring to the small town of Marysville, said it was “completely gone.”

The photos and videos are shocking and the stories are very sad. But, like always, Hoosiers rise to challenge in every way. Donations and support moved in quickly to help alleviate the suffering. Gov. Daniels has requested federal disaster aid to help rebuild.

They don’t need clothing or household items at this point, but the Red Cross is encouraging people who want to help to make a financial donation. You can help those affected by disasters like the Midwest tornadoes and storms, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the:

American Red Cross
P.O. Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013

Your help enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

Unfortunately, even after the initial shock wears off and the rebuilding is complete, the financial impact on the communities will linger. I haven’t seen any statistics, but I’m wondering how many businesses will be shuttered due to an inability to recover from lost time, inadequate resources, or disruption in vital services. History shows that even minor disruptions can damage a business indelibly: more than 85% of businesses that suffer an unplanned outage don’t survive.

While we will never be able to foresee disasters, both big and small, we can anticipate and plan for them. There are great resources available online to help you devise a disaster recovery/business continuity plan for your business. Try reading this Wikipedia article for an overview of the topic. You can also get a free trial of an online software product to help you create your own plan from Survivor or Statistic.

This is one of those things that never seems to be the highest priority, but it can truly be the difference in the survival of a business. If you own or run a business, you really need to look into putting a plan together soon.

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