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Entries in natural disaster (5)


How Health Clubs Are Helping Communities Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Health clubs have always been in the business of serving others, so it comes as no surprise that in light of the events that have taken place in Houston, the fitness industry has joined forces to support and lend a helping hand to individuals and fellow clubs affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you are looking to make a donation to support the relief efforts in Houston, please visit the American Red Cross, One America Appeal or one of the industry-related funds mentioned.

(Photo: iGo Figure Membership Management Software)

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Natural Disaster Preparedness Resources for Health Clubs

It’s hard to know where to turn when a natural disaster strikes—especially when the effects of Mother Nature negatively impact your health club business. 

That’s why IHRSA and our group purchasing suppliers have put together a list of resources our members can use to both prepare for a natural disaster and mitigate the damages after one strikes. 

Hurricanes and Flooding 

Hurricane season is June through November in the U.S. The winds from these storms can exceed 155 mph and the tornadoes, microbursts and storm surges associated with hurricanes often add to the devastation. 

To help clubs prepare for and recover from a hurricane, our friends at Grainger put together a handy checklist of equipment and supplies you should have on hand

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), flooding has caused more damage in the U.S. than any other severe, weather-related event. FEMA records show that over the past 10 years, the average claim due to flood damage amounted to over $33,000. 

Grainger has created a flooding preparedness and recovery checklist, too. 

Winter Weather 

January and February are busy months for health clubs, but the increase in member traffic makes it even more important to keep a close eye on cold weather safety measures. 

To help you keep your members and facilities safe, Philadelphia Insurance, an IHRSA Group Purchasing supplier, created a list of six winter safety considerations that should be top-of-mind during the winter months. 

Read their full blog post about winter weather safety risks and tips, from freeze prevention to cold weather exercise. 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Club Offers Free Access to Locals Displaced by Hurricane

South Carolina Club Offers Free Access to Locals Displaced by Hurricane Matthew
Sportsclub Fitness & Wellness, an IHRSA member with three clubs in South Carolina, is generously inviting those who have been displaced by the effects of Hurricane Matthew to make use of any of its locations for free through Sunday, October 9. 

Related IHRSA resources:

GoodLife Fitness to Add 600 New Positions as Growth Continues
GoodLife Fitness announced last week that the company will hire 600 new Associates in clubs across Canada, by the end of August 2017. The Canadian owned and operated company will open 15 GoodLife Fitness clubs across the country. In November, GoodLife will also celebrate the grand opening of a new 60,000 square foot home office, in London, Ontario. “It’s a very exciting time for us, as we look to grow the GoodLife Fitness family by 600 people over the next year,” David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness, said in a press release. “When I opened my first club in 1979, it was a small 2,000 square foot location in London and all I knew is that I wanted to care for people and help them experience the incredible benefits of exercise,” continued Patch. “Even as we’ve grown to become the fourth largest chain in the world and largest in Canada, it’s still so important to us that the people joining our team are caring, knowledgeable and share our passion for helping others be the best version of themselves.”

Wellness Coaching Helps People to Lead Healthier Lives, Study Finds
Increasingly, American companies and health insurers are providing “wellness coaches” to help motivate people to lead heathier lives and, ultimately, curb the rise of chronic diseases. And, while wellness coaching is a relatively new field, a Mayo Clinic study suggests that the practice is helping people achieve results. According to the 12-week study, the majority of 100 participants who worked with a wellness coach lost weight, improved their eating habits, and increased their physical activity. “Many people can implement positive lifestyle changes, but maintaining change over time is extremely difficult,” Matthew M. Clark, a clinical psychologist at Mayo Clinic and the lead author of the study, told The Wall Street Journal. “This finding highlights the importance of ongoing strategies and support for positive lifestyle changes.”

Meet the IHRSA Advocate: Your New Guide to Health Club Industry Advocacy
Keeping up with the latest industry advocacy information can be challenging. The legislative process can sometimes move quickly and bill revisions can be easily missed. That is why our public policy team created the IHRSA Advocate—to allow you to continue effectively managing your business without missing a beat. 

The IHRSA Advocate is a new bi-weekly advocacy e-newsletter that will help you recognize and understand the latest information on health club policies and trends, and summarize exactly how these initiatives impact your daily business operations. Learn more about the IHRSA Advocate.


IHRSA, Stone Creek Club Seek to Help Flooded Louisiana Health Clubs

The flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy, according to the Red Cross, displacing thousands of residents and businesses—including health clubs. 

IHRSA member Stone Creek Club and Spa, located in Covington, LA—just outside of the flood area—has been reaching out to flooded clubs to provide some much-needed relief. 

Stone Creek Club posted a photo of cleaning supply donations on their Facebook page.

“We've been contacting clubs in the flooded areas to see what Stone Creek and our industry can do to help them keep their businesses going,” says Larry Conner, president of Stone Creek Club and IHRSA board member. “We have a few pieces of equipment we could lend to a flooded club to use until they can obtain new equipment.” 

Stone Creek Club’s efforts don’t stop there—the health club partnered with the United Methodist Committee on Relief to help their neighbors in need, collected donations of cleaning supplies to help with flood recovery.

Reaching Out to Flooded Louisiana Clubs 

Larry and Stone Creek Assistant General Manager Marvin Greese visited people and clubs in the affected area, serving hearty free food as well as some of the club’s healthier options, such as apples, bananas, and bottled water. 

One of the clubs they visited was Spectrum Fitness in Denham Springs, LA, which took on 2-3 feet of water in two days, destroying just about everything inside. 

“The population of this suburb of Baton Rouge is around 12,000 people and nearly everyone got water,” Larry says. “This is where a lot of people were stuck on the highway for over 24 hours. Nothing is open and debris is everywhere.” 

When Larry and his GM arrived, Spectrum Fitness GM Ryan Hartley and Club Director Corey Williams were gutting the club and working on salvaging some of its equipment, though all of their cardio equipment was destroyed. 

“I told him we came to see how he was doing from concerned clubs in the New Orleans area and also from IHRSA—he was floored,” Larry says. “He could not believe IHRSA thought of them. I told him IHRSA did and wanted to know what message we can spread to help him and others in the area.” 

Fitness Vendors Willing to Lend a Hand 

Ryan told Larry that their goal is to be open in three weeks, but he will need equipment—fast. 

To help them reach their goal, Larry reached out to vendors to ask if they would expedite the ordering process for affected clubs. 

How You Can Help Flooded Louisiana Health Clubs 

“It will be a long road and they are going to hit times of need over the next few weeks, so I told them to let us know and we would help in any way that we can,” Larry says. “As you know, clubs are vital to a community’s well-being. We need to help these clubs to get open to help the Community heal. People need their jobs back. Members need that stress relief and the sense of community that clubs provide.” 

Larry ConnerIn addition to giving to the charities linked to above, your club can help by reaching out to affected clubs in Louisiana. 

“We would ask IHRSA clubs across the country to think of these affected areas and offer any support or assistance they can by reaching out directly to the damaged clubs or to us at Stone Creek,” he says. “We will be happy to help facilitate that communication.”

Related reading: 


How to Respond When Your Club is Affected By A Natural Disaster

Richard Beddie, Robert Kuchefski and Rich Synnott discuss how to deal with a natural disaster in this week's Best Practices.

Q: "With natural disasters occurring around the world in Japan, New Zealand and, most recently, the American South, what steps should a health club that's been affected by such a disaster take to begin the recovery process?"

A: Responding to a national disaster is all about prioritization. The extent of the damage to both the club and the regions infrastructure will determine what these priorities are. You may have to go through a simple clean up or find new premises.

One thing that should be at the top of the list in all circumstances is staff. Make sure that they feel safe and their home life is as secure as possible. Not only will every staff member's situation be different (some may be relatively unaffected, others may have lost their homes, or loved ones), but how they react to this will vary considerably. We all know how home life issues can distract people at work, and a natural disaster is an extreme case of this. Until people feel safe in their home life, their ability to constructively add value to any recovery process of a club is hindered, and the workplace may be one of the few places where any scene of normality takes place for some months.

Another important consideration is preparing for an insurance claim. Before starting any remedial work, photos should be taken and as much evidence recorded to support any insurance claim. For business more significantly affected, a loss of business, or business interruption claim may also need to be prepared, and this will often require substantial financial calculations to be made before a claim can be. Of course this assumes that the club has the correct type and level insurance - and it is a timely reminder to all to ensure that the club is insured for not only the likely, but the unlikely, and potentially catastrophic events. (After all until 2010 everyone knew that Christchurch was not on a fault line, and did not have large earthquakes. Oh how wrong we all were!)

Most clubs insure physical assets well, but many do not fully insure business interruption and more significantly, depopulation insurance (the terms used in different countries may vary - but any insurance broker should know these terms) - and unfortunately it's too late once the disaster strikes.

Richard Beddie, Chief Executive
Fitness New Zealand

A: From an insurance standpoint, be sure your facility is covered for disasters, before they strike.

If your club is in a flood zone, you will need to secure flood insurance. If your club is not in a flood zone you still have the ability to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). If your club is in an earthquake zone, you will want earthquake coverage. For wind damage caused by storms or tornadoes, ensure that your existing property and casualty insurance provides wind and hail coverage.

Property insurance covers building repair or replacement when damage is caused by the stated covered causes of loss. If your building is badly damaged or destroyed, it can take months to get running again. So be sure to secure business interruption insurance to pay your ongoing expenses while you get your business back on track.

Another disaster planning coverage is contingent business income coverage. This covers you for business income loss caused by the inability of a service you depend on to provide such service, such as a local power or water supply company.

Be sure that all your insurance is with an A+ rated company with the resources to actually pay your claim. There have been instances where lower-rated companies have been so burdened by claims that their ability to pay claims is jeopardized. This is not the case with an A+ rated company. It has the resources necessary to pay all claims.

Robert Kuchefski 
Hoffman Insurance Services

A: The best way to emerge from a disaster is to prepare ahead of time. All membership and accounting data should be backed up at an off-site, secure location; you should have an up-to-date list of all your FFE items, especially fitness equipment (photos or videos are helpful); have an email data-base for your entire membership; assure adequate insurance to cover loss of income while you are rebuilding; have a Facebook Fans page, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. After a disaster, communication with your staff, members and the community is critical. Use email, phone chains, your social networking and local media to frequently update your plans.

Richard Synnott, Executive Director
Weymouth Club


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.