Today is MayDay, a day that has been set aside in the U.S. to encourage those in the cultural communities to prepare for disaster in order to protect our heritage.
CERF+(*) encourages all artists to consider taking these 5 steps toward peace of mind.
1. Read your insurance policy and take notes.
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance almost never covers business-related losses or liability. If you are reading this, you probably are in business (at least by an insurance companies’ definition). Know where you stand and seek supplemental business insurance if you're not covered.
Tip: Insurance policies make good airplane reading.
2. Assess your risk of floods and look into flood insurance.
It is important to be aware that serious flooding sometimes occurs in areas that are not designated as flood zones. Hurricane season is a month away and spring rains and thaws are happening right now. Serious flooding can result not just in coastal areas but far in-land in low-lying areas and near rivers and streams.
While insurance normally covers water damage from burst pipes or leaking roofs, neither business insurance nor homeowner’s insurance covers damage from “rising water.” The National Flood Insurance Program has been set up to sell insurance to cover these risks. You would need separate policies to cover your home and your business assets, even if your art-related business operates from your home. Renters can also buy this insurance.
3. Back up your computer and store a backup in a safe place.
Find a Safe Offsite Location to store copies of your images and critical records such as business documents, sketches, glaze formulas, and process notes. A SOL is a place 50-100 miles away from your studio that is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster.
A safe deposit box in your community, while useful, may not be the best place to put this material. Read Safekeeping Your Business Records.
4. Get a weather radio.
While weather radios have been strongly promoted in “tornado alley” and other areas that are prone to weather-related disasters, shifting weather patterns make this inexpensive warning system a good investment anywhere.
A NOAA Public Alert™ certified radio activates automatically when a warning in your area is issued by the National Weather Service, even if the radio is turned off. This is especially important if you are asleep or working in the studio and not tuned to a local radio or television station that carries the alerts.
5. Get the Studio Protector.
CERF+ has created the Studio Protector–a terrific and inexpensive tool to help you prepare for an emergency. (One side is shown here.) At only $16, it's affordable, it will help you be more savvy about your assets, and the sales support a good cause.
(*Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artist Emergency Resources–an unwieldy name change–but that's a different subject)