Natural Disasters Impact Industry…Are You Prepared?Sep 08, 2021
Natural Disasters Impact Industry…Are You Prepared?
By Ben Quiggle
It seems like every week I am reporting in some way on how a natural disaster has impacted a
certain area of North America.
It has been a brutal year when it comes to natural disasters. From flooding to fires…even
hail…the outdoor hospitality industry has been impacted in numerous ways.
Severe drought conditions out west have given fires plenty of fuel but have also exposed other
areas of outdoor recreation that are vulnerable.
What if water resources disappear? Do tourists still come?
I posed that question to Dyana Kelley, president and CEO of the CampCalNOW RV Park and
Campground Alliance for a feature article in Woodall’s Campground Magazine.
“Any park that is on the water is touting that, but what if that disappears?” questioned Kelley.
“Some parks may not even have the basic infrastructure left to operate their parks. If water is
being stopped in areas, then nobody’s going to come because they can’t even offer them potable
water, right? The drought situation here has gotten incredibly serious. I have heard of some areas
where their wells have dried up and they have to close because they can’t offer services.”
Fires may also have an impact on future tourism.
“Why would people want to go out and go to the mountains?” Kelley asked. “Because there’s a
lush forest and the redwoods and they can sit among the trees. If none of that is there, why would
they go? Some of these areas are not going to rebuild in my lifetime, for sure. It will take
decades to get some of these places back.”
Hurricanes, too, have an impact. Hurricane Ida, which hit the Louisiana Gulf Coat at the end of
August, swamped RV parks not only Louisiana, but across the south and northeast.
The 250-site Hidden Oaks Campground in Hammond, La., was completely flooded and now
faces a long road to recovery.
In Pennsylvania, numerous parks are also facing the same issues and in North Carolina flooding
from a previous event destroyed a 100-site park.
How do you prepare for events like this?
Most insurance and disaster preparedness professionals will tell you that creating a plan is the
best thing you can do to protect your park and your campers.
This is a detailed plan that lists very specific details on what employees should be doing when a
variety of issues arise, from active shooters to adverse weather and even a missing camper.
Where are your evacuation areas? Do you have a safe place if a tornado comes through? Do
employees know who to call in an emergency? Do they know how to direct campers to the safest
All of these questions and more need to be answered.
Not only that, but park owners/operators need to go through the whole plan with their
employees. Walk through the steps they would take in an emergency and help them understand
Hytropy, a disaster preparedness firm that has worked in the industry for a while, now offers
tools that park owners can use craft and implement an emergency preparedness plan. If you are a
National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ member you actually get a discount on the
services it provides.
On top of being prepared, updating your insurance regularly is key as well. If you are hit by a
natural disaster the recovery period is always aided by insurance coverage that meets your needs
and helps you rebuild. Nothing is worse than learning you don’t have enough coverage and
wondering how you will ever reopen your park.
2021 should be a wake-up year for many. You never know when a natural disaster is going to
occur. Now is the time to protect yourself and your business.
We all hope that the fires, flooding, droughts and other natural disasters ease up in the future, but
we can’t bank on Mother Nature doing us a favor.
Be prepared for anything.