Emergency and Disaster Preparation Blog

Munro Inc.

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Rita struck his community, Bill, third-generation owner of Munro Inc., was surprised to learn that his plan was outdated and left a lot of room for improvement.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."



Penn State University - Dr. Robert Cherry, M.D., FACS
We felt the Trauma Center was prepared... until... - Penn State University Dr. Robert Cherry, M.D., FACS

"Whether you are a public health official or a business leader preparing to manage a natural disaster or a threat scenario, always realize you may encounter situations and circumstances that challenge the best plans," says Dr. Robert Cherry, Medical Director of the Penn State Shock Trauma Center.

Dr. Cherry learned this lesson first-hand working as Director of a level-one trauma center in the New York City area on Sept. 11, 2001. The doctor now realizes that each day brings unexpected challenges caused by constantly shifting circumstances. Like many New Yorkers on that day, he found the surreal experience tested even the most rehearsed plans.

"We felt the trauma center was prepared for disasters, until we found things that we simply hadn't planned for," said Dr. Cherry. "We had generators for power, but what if we needed them and exhausted our 36 hours of fuel reserve? Did we have a way of refueling?"

While dealing with the aftermath of 9/11, Dr. Cherry and his team faced the reality of not being prepared for a disaster of this magnitude. Like many other hospitals in New York City, they were concerned about the limited number of resources, including staff, equipment, and communications technology, and what is actually needed to adequately plan for and manage a large disaster. Dr. Cherry’s experiences that day deeply impacted his life and later inspired him to develop a Homeland Security program at Penn State’s Medical Center.

"The program teaches students the skills that allow them to be flexible, adaptive and responsive to whatever situation arises during an emergency," added Dr. Cherry. "Cultivating this culture among leaders in medicine or any business will greatly increase the security of the facilities and the employees that are required to survive a disaster and eventually allow an organization to return to normal productivity."

In January 2006, Penn State College of Medicine began this new program, making it one of the first medical schools in the United States to offer a master's degree program in Homeland Security. Dr. Cherry, now serving as the lead faculty member of Penn State's World Campus Master of Homeland Security and Public Health Preparedness, is already planning additional programs that will prepare the leaders of the future.

"You have to adopt an emergency plan that allows for change because it is impossible to adapt an inflexible plan during an emergency situation," said Dr. Cherry. "Whether in medicine or business, I encourage everyone to establish emergency preparedness plans that allow your people to adjust to any situation that comes your way. This skill is learned through training, knowledge of the plans and practice."

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Preparedness: -
  • "A good character is the best tombstone. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble." - Charles H. Spurgeon
  • "Never go anywhere without a Plan B." - Michael Ironside
  • "He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard."
  • "Liberty means responsibility. That's why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw
  • "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost...For want of the shoe, the horse was lost...For want of the horse, the rider was lost...For want of the rider, the battle was lost...For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost...And all for the want of a horseshoe nail." - Benjamin Franklin
  • "The first law of every creature is that of self-preservation, of staying alive." - Niccolo Machiavelli

America's Ready to RollAmerica's REaDy to Roll is a division of the USA McDonald Corporation, which also owns NORCO Products. We have been building custom, contract furniture for schools and commercial projects for more than 40 years. Our manufacturing plant is located in the heart of Montana's Big Sky Country, contributing hundreds of jobs to the local economy. In the early years, NORCO Products specialized solely in custom-manufactured cabinets. 

Today, NORCO Products builds a wide variety of versatile classroom, storage, office, mobile and unique custom-made furniture that is regularly shipped to clients in all 50 states and 7 countries!  We know it's not the first sale that counts, but the second. We are confident that once you buy and use NORCO Products furniture, you will see it is the best quality furniture on the market today.

America's Ready to RollAmerica's REaDy to Roll guarantees ALL product quality, safety, and availability for up to 5 years after delivery!  America's REaDy to Roll offers a 10 Year warranty on Fully Welded-Unitized Steel Frame Cabinets!  The America's REaDy to Roll warranty promises all high density plastic laminate panels, frames, and hardware to be free of defects in material and workmanship. If for any reason you are not fully satisfied with our product, please contact us for immediate assistance.

All of our durable, competitively priced products are made in our Missoula, Montana, USA plant. At America's REaDy to Roll, we guarantee that our workmanship will exceed your expectations of quality, reliability, safety, and availability with our full product warranty. 
America's REaDy to Roll is dedicated to customizing individual requests and investing personal attention and detail into every facet of our customer's needs.

America's Ready to RollAmerica's REaDy to Roll has a 5 year warranty following delivery!  USA McDonald Corporation Products is dedicated to continue in its mission as an environmentally responsible manufacturer of office and classroom furniture. Our first priority is providing Quality "Design Performance Furniture" for today's classrooms at a competitive price. USA McDonald Corporation maintains a stringent purchasing policy of utilizing only vendors who are Environmentally Certified and meet the requirement for quality performance.

America's REaDy to Roll is dedicated to being an environmentally responsible manufacturer of office and classroom furniture.
1. America's REaDy to Roll continually strives to make important, innovative improvements in manufacturing.
a. Implementation of new environmentally friendly, non-toxic paint line (2007)
b. Conservation of our natural resource water.
Provide all waste water to be eliminated through in-house evaporation system (ensuring no environmental impact, with no waste water leaving the facility).
Utilize only environmentally friendly, non-toxic chemicals in processing and production.
c. Recycle all by-products
Steel and corrugated cardboard (Pacific Steel), wood pallets and scrap wood (Progress Tool & Die, Johnson Bros.)
2.Maintain efficient energy use regarding business equipment, lighting and heating.
a. Fluorescent lighting installed in plant and office
b. High-Intensity Discharge Lighting for outside of building
c. Plant heated with waste steam from press and wash-line.
d. Installation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures to include low-flow toilets, high efficiency shower heads, fluorescent lighting and toxic- free paint.
e. Standard office practices include the purchase of all "Energy Star" products.
f. Reduce waste, reuse, and recycle all paper products and packaging material.
3. Products are built to last, and will not break down or add to landfill waste.
4. America's Ready to Roll is committed to utilizing vendors providing Environmentally Certified Products.

America's Ready to RollAmerica's REaDy to Roll believes in the strength of the community. USA McDonald Corporation, America's REaDy to Roll parent company, is an active participant in several community, regional, and national organizations.  "Being Prepared" is the focus of The Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association, of which we are a member. Associations we have been or are currently involved with include: National Federation of Independent Businesses, Montana Spirit of Enterprise, National Association of Manufacturers, US Chamber of Commerce, Montana Economic Development Corporation, Western Montana Fish and Game Association, Ducks Unlimited, Exchange Club, Rotary, American Legion, Korean War Memorial Committee, Friends to Youth, National Guard, Stephen Ministry, S.W. Washington Medical Center Auxiliary, Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Auxiliary, Missoula International Friendship Program, Missoula Chamber of Commerce, United Peoples Pow Wow and Meals on Wheels.