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Is your business prepared for emergencies?

SUN Columnist

We continue to encourage businesses to take this springtime season to look at the way they are doing business and to improve various business practices.

We have written about improving your business acumen by taking a Maximizing Your Membership class or meeting with an SBDC advisor, and this week we want to deal with the topic of protecting your business.

Snowfall was below normal this year, rains have been nominal and summer is fast approaching. Is your business protected and do you have an emergency plan for your business?

There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your business is prepared in case you need to evacuate. Whether it be a fire or flood, are you covered with a traditional insurance plan, do you have an emergency contingency plan and are you prepared to operate your business remotely?

There are several systems and websites available to help you plan accordingly. The American Red Cross has a wonderful and useful site to help you with planning for an emergency. It has a checklist of items you should be aware of, including an evacuation plan, what to take and what you might do if you have time prior to any evacuation. If you own or operate a restaurant facility, can you get your customers out of the restaurant in an orderly, safe and timely fashion? Can you do the same if you have a retail establishment and the front door is blocked?

Let’s talk about your business systems and think about these few questions. Is your computer backed up daily, and backed up offsite? If you function on a database system, as the Chamber of Commerce does, is your database backed up and do you have easy access to the backup? Do you have hard copies of any database information? Is the hard copy material in a location that would be easy to access and remove? What other files, discs or thumb drives must you have to function should you need to do so away from your place of business? Is your inventory up to date? Could you submit to the insurance company an accurate inventory to replace your losses? In your absence as the owner, have you identified who would be in charge of your business; can you identify a succession up to three people deep? Have you created an emergency kit to grab and go, if necessary? If you cannot get back into your business for a while — what can you do? Can you function remotely; if you need store frontage, have you identified an alternative site? If you are aware of your emergency plans, are your employees also aware of it? Do they know what to do in case of an emergency or evacuation?

Most people think that an emergency will never happen to them. They are then caught with their proverbial pants down singing the “I Should Have” blues.

Take a few hours to get yourself ready. These few hours of committed time to prepare could save you thousands of dollars in losses or recoup what is rightfully yours. Perhaps you can simply video what is in your store or business location. Go online to www.readyrating.com with the American Red Cross and register free for the emergency preparedness checklist. You can also visit the FEMA website at www.ready.gov/community-and-other-plans, which will help you through the emergency process.

The emergency season is upon us. Flooding will probably not occur, but fires and lightening strikes are considered high dangers again this year. And while you’re thinking about your business, give some emergency preparedness thought to your home as well — especially if you run a home-based business. Prepare a grab bag to throw in the car. Again, the websites mentioned will assist you in items to take with you.

One other important tip is to register for Archuleta County Emergency notifications. You can sign up for these free alerts by logging on at www.acemergency.org. This website will give you Archuleta County emergency information including prescribed burns, lockdowns, winter storm warnings, missing persons, emergency notification system and more emergency information. If you would like some information or ready-to-reference pages that can help you through this disaster-planning process, contact me at the Chamber for a packet of helpful information. We want you to be prepared and to be able to minimize your downtime should an emergency occur.

Congratulations

I would like to commend the Chamber staff, board of directors and our businesses on receiving a recent award from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. Our Chamber received an award for the Largest Increase in Members in 2012. The Pagosa Chamber experienced an increase of over 18 percent in 2012.

Chambers were asked to submit their membership numbers to CACI. Of the 35 or so Chambers belonging to CCCE, the Pagosa Springs Chamber had the most improved membership roster. We were honored to receive this award and attribute this award to the hard work performed by the chamber staff, especially Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator. Our board of directors has made a focused effort to contact new members and our organization stays in contact with the members. Our members are getting more involved and finding out how the Chamber’s amenities can work for their business; they are getting involved in the community and they are looking for more education and services from the Chamber.

Without the trust of our members, we would not have been able to submit our improvement numbers and win this award. Thank you, members, for your support. Upon receiving the award, I mentioned that I would be back receiving the award again next year, since I trust our membership will continue to grow. I hope I am proven right.

Photo calendar

It’s time to submit Pagosa photos and 2014 events to the Chamber. We are coordinating the production of the 2014 Pagosa Springs calendar, in all its colorful glory. Over 500 calendars were sold this year. Calendars this year are available for sale at the Visitor Center and at our sponsor locations: Farrago Market Cafe, Back Room Wine Bar and First Crush Olive Oil Tasting Room. If you would like to purchase calendars in quantity, your business can also sell the calendars. These Pagosa Springs calendars also make great gifts for clients and for anyone who lives somewhere else but wishes they were in Pagosa.

Each month has a beautiful picture representative of our area. The photos must be submitted in a high-resolution, minimum 300 dpi format. Due to the layout, landscape photos are preferred. Please include the Pagosa area site or vista that you are submitting, and your name. Photos need to be submitted digitally on CD or e-mail format to Stacy Kirby, events coordinator at the Chamber, at events@pagosachamber.com. The deadline to submit photos is May 31.

Upcoming events

This week, May 17-18, brings the fifth annual Car Show at Pagosa to town. Please refer to the cover article in The PREVIEW for the details on this event. Come on out for a great time!

“The Purse Chronicles” hosted by Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will be held Friday, May 17, at the Ross Aragon Community Center. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 6:30. Take a hilarious look at the what and why of “things” in women’s purses. There will be delicious hors d’oeuvres, chilled adult beverages and a live and silent purse auction. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce for $25. “Fashion is about which purse you carry, but life is about what you carry in your purse.” — Coleen Hubbard.

There will be a spring carwash fund-raiser for Archuleta Seniors, Inc., to assist with funding for ASI members 62 and older who have outstanding medical expenses.  The carwash is a donation to ASI. There will also be hot dogs for $1 and a bake sale available while waiting for your car. The carwash will be held Saturday, May 18, at Mud Shaver Car Wash on Rosita Street behind Old Town Market, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The next Chamber SunDowner will be held at Terry’s Ace Home and Ranch on Wednesday, May 22 from 5-7 p.m. This worthwhile networking event is open to Chamber members and invited guests. Come and see the fantastic changes Terry Smith and staff have produced at the store. There will be terrific door prizes, live music and delicious food and beverages. If you didn’t receive your e-mail invitation, contact Jan at the Chamber.

Membership 

Due to the Memorial Day weekend, the Maximizing Your Membership class, which is typically held on the last Monday of the month, will be held on Monday, May 20. Please R.S.V.P. for this two-hour class in which you will learn about your membership advantages. We also provide a free lunch. Contact the Chamber at 264-2360 to register for the class.

We have four new members this week.

Welcome to new restaurant business Bogey Q, located at Bogey’s Mini Golf on U.S. 160 on Put Hill. Amazing barbecue meats and smoked salmon highlight the menu. There is an indoor and outdoor stage for live musical events as well as outdoor games, including horseshoe pits. Gather the group and come out for a reasonably-priced, fun evening out with family and friends.

Margaret Burkesmith brings two businesses to the membership family: EcoLiving Studio and Yoga Clarity. EcoLiving Studio is located at 280 Pagosa St. and not only offers yoga and wellness classes, but they have space to rent for art, music or movement meetings and retreats. The studio is light and bright with bamboo flooring and certain equipment provided. Yoga Clarity offers strengthening, nourishing, toning, massaging and balancing techniques for your body. For more information about the studio and yoga classes, contact Margaret at 264-YOGA.

We also welcome Pagosa Pics in the Country Center. This photo lab produces pictures from both film and digital cameras. They carry memory cards, film, picture frames, and other types of items relating to photos. Their services also include scanning slides, photos and negatives to CD. They are conveniently located in the Country Center and you can find out more about their services at www.pagosapics.com.

Our renewing members this week include Jim Smith Realty, Four Seasons Land Company, Winslow on the Shire, Certified Folder Display, The Lindblad Group, Aviation Business Concepts, Southwest Property Trust, and Bartlett and West.

This story was posted on May 16, 2013.