Civic News

Planet Ready is looking to help more people prepare for a hurricane

The D.C.–built platform has resources to get ready for a disaster. Using tech makes the process faster.

Planet Ready says be prepared for a hurricane. (Public domain photo)

With hurricane season approaching, Joel Thomas is on a mission to make sure people are prepared.

While there are lots of messages broadcast and vigilance urged, Thomas said statistics frequently show that many aren’t ready for a disaster. There was a 2015 FEMA study, for instance, which showed that 60 percent of adults haven’t taken precautionary steps. Steps like stocking up on basic necessities and preparing buildings for storm hazards can be done long before a storm forms.

Now, the emergency management agency is calling to create a “culture of preparedness” at every level.

With Planet Ready, Thomas is working to reach as many people as possible with resources, and make it easier to get ready. The free platform offers web-based exercises that are designed to help people understand what they need to do to get ready.

The platform has sections specifically designed for individuals and families preparing their homes, small-and-medium-sized businesses and houses of worship.

It features an assessment, as well as resources to download and pull together disaster preparedness plans and preparedness exercises. It also includes a power outage prep game, and links to supply kits.

“My whole idea is, let’s leverage technology and make it something people can do in 15 minutes,” said Thomas, who worked on disaster preparedness initiatives with the federal government, is the founder of 1776–based SPIN Global.

For a homeowner or business owner, Thomas said not getting prepared can be costly. The series of storms in 2017 yielded the most-ever dollars in damage, at more than $200 billion across the country. Thomas said Planet Ready is partnering with Dun & Bradstreet to reach businesses. Specifically, the target area is within 100 miles of the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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