There’s no doubt about it… 2020 has been a year for the record books (and unfortunately, not in a good way). Aside from the obvious—the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now claimed over 300,000 lives in America alone—our nation experienced an epic Atlantic Hurricane season with over 30 named storms. Dangerous and deadly wildfires, to date, have burned over 9.5 million acres in several states, including California, Montana, Florida, and Oregon. And, flooding has plagued countless locations, and subsequently millions of people, throughout the entire year. 

All that said, and with only days remaining in 2020, now is not only the perfect time to reflect on the past year but also to plan for the one ahead. 

Looking Back

Consider listening to FEMA Podcast Episode 84, “A Look Back at 2020.” It’s available on Apple® iTunes and Google® Play to stream or download. The episode features FEMA Administrator, Pete Gaynor, talking about the agency’s recent work, along with the many innovations and/or improvements made while working through the year’s many challenges. 

Planning Ahead

Pause (if you can) to consider how the pandemic, natural disasters, and other disruptions impacted your organization over the last 12 months. This may have involved the loss of facilities, inventory, assets, or even worse, people. Think about the actions your organization took to prepare for, respond to, and hopefully, recover from, these situations. And, what it can do differently in the future. 

When schedules permit, pull your organization’s emergency or and/or continuity plan from the shelf (or up online if you use the platform). Review it carefully, department by department, and update its contents accordingly. If at all possible, safely conduct a tabletop exercise, whether in person or remotely, to make additional modifications. 

Also, mark the calendar to review your plan(s) on a regular basis. Every three months is optimal

After such an unprecedented year, and with no way of knowing what the future holds, actions such as these may prove invaluable to your organization in 2021. Here’s to a great year ahead!