Skip to navigation Skip to content
Ready America | Ready Business | Ready Kids | En Español
HomeGet A KitMake A PlanBe Informed

Here's Something To Think About...

Choose an emergency contact person outside your area, as it may be easier to call long distance after a local/regional emergency.


Texas business owner takes steps to keep his business prepared.

Bill Munro Thought He Was Prepared For Anything

Beaumont TX
Beaumont, TX

Bill Munro, owner of a dry cleaning, uniform rental and safety apparel business, thought he was prepared for anything with his basic emergency plan. However, when Hurricane Rita struck his community, Bill, third-generation owner of Munro Inc., was surprised to learn that his plan was outdated and left a lot of room for improvement.

Originally, Hurricane Rita was not forecasted to come near his hometown of Beaumont, TX. In fact, it was supposed to hit down the coast about 150 miles. But, the weather pattern made a fast change and Hurricane Rita came charging straight through the Beaumont area. The entire community was forced to evacuate, which meant the Munro employees were dispersed across several states.

"Our plan had not been updated in years and had just deteriorated, but we were fortunate to have a communications plan which was basically a cell phone network that connected all of our employees," said Bill. "This was vital because we were spread out across the region during the evacuation."

Though Bill had a rudimentary emergency plan in place, it did not account for power loss or for the shortage of food and supplies after the hurricane. It took Bill a week to reopen his business. However, he discovered there wasn't much of a need for dry cleaning among his customers. There was, on the other hand, a huge need for a laundry service in the community. Local contractors needed clean clothes, so Munro stepped up to fill this demand with a wash, dry, and fold service.

Though many of his employees had made their way back into the community and were ready to come back to work, schools had not reopened yet so they needed a place where their children could be supervised. To solve this issue, Bill allowed his employees to bring their kids to work. Some of the kids pitched in and worked, while others played in a conference room that was converted into a kid-friendly area complete with videogames and toys.

"Though we had a basic emergency plan in place and were fortunate enough to reopen relatively quickly, we knew we could do a lot better," said Bill.

After Hurricane Rita, Bill immediately took additional steps to be better prepared for the future. As a result, Bill drafted a plan to board up and secure buildings prior to evacuation and created a more in-depth communication program that requires employees to contact their supervisors within 48-hours to let them know their location and a phone number where they can be reached. In addition, he stocked-piled supplies including bedding and linens, hygiene products and enough food to feed 15 key employees for up to three and a half days. Those key employees, who are critical to getting the business back up-and-running, have been identified and notified, and Bill has worked with local authorities to get them clearance to return to the area early.

Additionally, Bill has installed showers and a natural-gas generator. He also contacted his power provider to arrange for his utilities to be turned back on within 48-hours of an incident.

"I can't imagine any business moving forward without a plan. If businesses are up and running, individuals can receive a paycheck and the community can stabilize," concluded Bill. "If businesses are able to recover, the local economy is able to come back. It's so critical."