Being in the insurance industry for ten and a half years, I have witnessed first hand the aftermath of a disaster. Rather that be fire, flood, tornado or other catastrophic loss, I understand and know the importance of having a disaster plan in place. Not only have I been a part of the Inter-Tribal Emergency Management Coalition, I have attended Certified Risk Management classes. As an Account Executive at  Sullivan Insurance Agency, I have worked with customers on evacuation plans in the event of a fire, tornado planning to find an underground area or an interior room, armed security guard training for robberies and criminal activity, and recently active shooter drills.

The key to having a risk management plan is having a specific written plan that involves implementing from a top-down approach to exercising, performing and revising the plan. Having management, employees and all vendors working together will make the plan more efficient, as well as, avoid conflicts and decrease the cost of implementation. The Sheriff’s department and local emergency management services will also implement these same ideas and practices on a county and city level. 

The City of Ardmore’s disaster action plan can be found at on its website. It outlines very similar to the risk management plan that we have implied — Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation. The City also has a Hazard Mitigation Plan which is a detailed plan to prevent disasters and overcome them when they do occur. The goal of the plan is to minimize and prevent damages from numerous natural disasters. Outside of planning for a disaster this plan helps vindicate community and political backing for the projects. The scope of this plan covers the City of Ardmore, Ardmore City Schools and Plainview Public Schools. 

Items being readily available in the event of a disaster is extremely important in reducing the post-loss damages. These items could be generators, medical assistance, equipment for debris removal, lighting, modular buildings, phone lines and computers. Also, making sure you have vendors to provide these services during the disasters is extremely important. Other reduction methods include pre-loss planning for the disaster using historic exposure trends so you can identify the time frame of when a disaster may occur. Other pre-loss reduction risk management techniques include running drills to be better prepared when the disaster requires. From drills you will find your strengths and flaws to help find the best solution for each action. 

As a candidate for State Senate, I can see where we can implement many of these measures in the State Legislature. Having plans and procedures in place will not only help save lives — it will save money in the long run. We need leaders at the State Capitol who have the experience to think outside of the box and provide fresh eyes on our complex problems.