Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article.
When Hurricane Sandy rocked the East Coast back in 2012, many devastated business owners were left to pick up the pieces. Experts say it was the costliest natural disaster event of that year. One report estimates that Superstorm Sandy resulted in $65 billion worth of economic loss between the U.S., Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Anyone who was in the Northeast during that period remembers the devastation, especially for business owners. One Dun & Bradstreet report found that roughly 1.5 million businesses throughout the tristate area were affected.
These stats beg the question: Is your office prepared for a large-scale emergency?
"If there are two things we’ve learned from the natural disasters that have struck the United States through the decades, it’s that you never know when they’re going to occur or how severe they are going to be,” says Allen Baler, founder of Food4Patriots.
Food4Patriots specializes in pre-packaged kits of dehydrated, high-quality survival foods designed to last 25 years.
Baler says that in the event of a real emergency, having a reserve of emergency food is crucial. The truth is that at least 30 percent of U.S. businesses have been forced to shut down their operations for 24 hours or longer due to an emergency situation over the past three years.
"When a crisis is severe enough that people can’t go outside during that period of time, they are going to get very hungry,” says Baler.“And that’s why it is imperative that every business stockpile emergency food and water for their employees, just in case."
The possibility of having to hunker down at work for an extended time may not be so unrealistic, considering how much time most Americans spend at their jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American aged 25 to 54 spends roughly eight hours a day at work.
When it comes to storing emergency food in the workplace, the approach is similar to doing so at home – perhaps even easier, says Baler.
“An office might be even more conducive to storing food than a home, especially if it contains warehouse space,” says Baler, who says food can be placed in air-tight containers within boxes on pallets above ground level to maximize its lifespan. "In a smaller office, a storage area or large closet might do the trick.”
Just before Thanksgiving, hundreds were trapped throughout Buffalo due to a snowstorm that rocked the area. Some people were stuck inside their offices for over 30 hours. Whether they had emergency food and water is unknown, but the event only spotlights the need to be prepared.