Disaster Preparedness–Northeast Florida businesses can learn from Superstorm Sandy

By Marguerite Mumford

For all businesses, disaster preparation is an essential part of the overall master plan. However, putting these plans in place is challenging. Many simply think they will never face a disaster. Still fresh in everyone’s mind is Superstorm Sandy. Events like these are a huge wake-up call and underscore the importance of being prepared. In the wake of Sandy, those without a plan, who were within a half-mile of the coast where the event occurred, are unlikely to be in business any longer.

Closer to home in the Jacksonville area, businesses are under the threat of hurricanes from June through November, and severe thunderstorms anytime. There are no shortages of reasons for having a disaster plan. In most organizations, the responsibility of disaster planning falls on property or facility management. Professionals in this field need to take the lead long before disaster strikes. Often, large portions of disaster or business continuity planning efforts are aimed at ensuring the protection of electronic data files, and access to uninterrupted electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities. However, a building’s structure, physical assets, and other contents must be accounted for, as well. Proper protocols must be in place to quickly recover from any structural damage to a property portfolio. This also includes establishing relationships with individuals who are experts at stabilizing damaged buildings, and post risk management.

Such experts should be able to mobilize workers, equipment, and have self-sustained power to get businesses back in operation as quickly as possible. The rationale for this is simple—a business that is down loses revenue, opportunity, and market share. Additionally, the facility’s leadership team can be supported by large-loss emergency services professionals who specialize in structural clean up and damage repair to commercial buildings.

With close to 50 years of experience in the residential and commercial property damage restoration field, Paul Davis Restoration is uniquely qualified to assist both in the planning and recovering from disasters. According to Marguerite Mumford, owner of Paul Davis Restoration of North Florida, whose staff works with many northeast Florida businesses, “Facility managers and their teams have an important role in disaster planning and response. They should have a thorough understanding of the emergency disaster plans of their local municipality to ensure compatibility.”

Mumford has definitely seen a shift in activity when it comes to taking this issue seriously. A large amount of Jacksonville area businesses have plans in place, but there are still many who don’t. For a disaster recovery plan to be successful, Mumford recommends that facility managers complete all necessary documentation, train staff, plan for the safety of building occupants, maintain contact information for all parties involved, and understand and communicate with insurance carriers. Disasters cannot always be avoided, but with a disaster recovery plan in place, damage and harmful effects can be minimized.


For more information, contact Marguerite Mumford at (904) 739-6047 or email Visit the website at

Marguerite and Michael Mumford – co owners of Paul Davis Restoration of North Florida since 1.1.99 – we have grown this franchise to be one of the 10 largest in the Paul Davis network across the country. Prior to purchasing this business Marguerite was the VP of Marketing Operations with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and also has extensive sales and marketing experience in the computer industry.   Parents of two.    With the business are actively involved in the community.

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