Last week, residents of gulf coast states were watching the predicted paths of Tropical Storm Dorian, making its way across the Atlantic Ocean. It served as a reminder that the Atlantic hurricane season, running June 1 through Nov. 30 and generally peaking in August and September, threatens both life and property across our region. While at the moment it appears that Dorian is weakening, surely bringing a sigh of relief to our credit unions along the gulf coast, due to the unpredictability and potential threat of Mother Nature, it is still possible that Dorian could strengthen. Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Courtney Moran says Dorian serves as a reminder on the importance of disaster preparedness.
Although residents of coastal areas are most at risk, tropical storm systems can travel hundreds of miles inland, creating the potential for wind damage and flash flooding throughout the state. Planning ahead can help you protect yourself, your family and your property during hurricane season.
On the ready.gov website, consumers will find a wealth of information – from how to make a plan to building a disaster preparedness kit. The site also offers the opportunity for consumers to pledge to prepare. This site does not just address hurricanes. It addresses every natural disaster you can think of, including drought, earthquakes, tornadoes, extreme heat, flooding, etc.
Moran reminds credit unions that one of CSCUF’s primary focus areas is disaster relief to credit union communities. It assists credit unions and their employees in getting back up and running as soon as possible, so they in turn can serve their members.
“When a disaster strikes, we work closely with credit unions in the affected area(s) to assess the needs of their staff,” explains Moran. “We also serve as the repository for credit union disaster donations, which will then be provided in the form of emergency grants for credit union employees.”
The Foundation has established a three-phase process when disaster occurs:
Phase I emergency grants are provided to credit union employees to assist with immediate disaster relief needs, such as out-of-pocket costs that may result from being evacuated.
Phase II grants are intended to assist credit union employees with significant needs. This is implemented only after the distribution of phase one grants.
Phase III grants are intended to follow-up with those credit union employees who suffered catastrophic loss and are still needing assistance after phase two grants have been distributed. This phase begins 180 days after the respective disaster and is dependent on the funds available.
“The credit union movement is about ‘people helping people,’ and our commitment to this philosophy is evident in our ability to mobilize in times of disaster,” adds Moran.