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Natural Disaster Response: Stepping Up, Giving Back and Leading Forward

Natural Disaster Response: Stepping Up, Giving Back and Leading Forward

We can’t always predict a natural disaster and the damage it will cause, but we can take steps to be prepared and extend assistance and support to those affected.

The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) committed 10% of every Workforce Strategy 2017 registration received after September 11th to aid hurricane relief efforts in Houston. A donation of over $9,000 will be made to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, set up by Houston’s Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Emmett to focus on immediate and long-term relief efforts. At the conference, attendees also assembled care packages with supplies requested by local relief agencies.

To help employers get ready and respond to events beyond our control, NBGH has developed a new guide, Natural Disaster Response: Stepping Up, Giving Back and Leading Forward. This resource offers important advice on what to include in an emergency response plan from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and tips for communicating with employees before, during and after a natural disaster. It also shares a variety of ways to extend assistance and support to those affected through leave, flexibility, financial aid, housing, food, EAPs and community outreach.

When natural disasters strike, large employers consistently aid relief efforts and provide a needed path back to stability. Here are just a few examples included in our new guide:

Comcast gave employees and customers who evacuated during Hurricane Irma remote access to live NBC broadcasts through the Xfinity Stream app. It marks the first time a cable company devised a way to team up with local broadcasters and offer those relocated out-of-market access to local broadcasts. In addition, Comcast opened its more than 137,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the state of Florida to anyone in need, including non-Xfinity customers, for free to help residents and emergency personnel stay connected.

Walmart offered employment to any associate displaced by Hurricane Katrina at a store, club or distribution center convenient to their new location. Approximately 2,400 displaced associates were able to relocate, work at stores and rebuild their lives.

Humana Inc. opened its toll-free crisis intervention hotline and counseling services beyond employees and members to include any individual impacted by Hurricane Irma.

BP and the BP Foundation donated $750,000 to assist with relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey. The contribution was split equally among the Red Cross, the Community Foundation of Greater Houston and the United Way of Greater Houston. The company will also match employee contributions.

Whether you’re in the midst of supporting employees impacted by the recent, devastating storms or have embraced the 2017 National Preparedness Month theme—“Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can.”— the Natural Disaster Response Employer Guide is intended to help you lead in a time of crisis and get back to normal business operations as soon as possible.

Members—Sharing resources, knowledge and experiences improve our ability to prepare for and respond to emergency situations. Natural Disaster Response: Stepping Up, Giving Back and Leading Forward is a living document. Please send any suggestions or employer examples for inclusion to


For additional information, see the resources below: