Thursday, January 29, 2015

Natural Disasters Defined

What qualifies as a natural disaster?Many of you know what a disaster is. But, do you really know what qualifies as an actual disaster? Disasters include everything from terrorist attacks to traffic accidents, floods to fires. The key to navigating a disaster (with as little loss possible) is to be prepared. Being prepared means having a plan in place for your home, family, business (employment), and your pets.

I know this seems to be common sense, but in a time of crisis simple things can become overlooked.
For pets make sure you have proper identification and that the animal is actually wearing it! Invest in good transport kennels before a disaster hits. Keep a stock pile for extra food and gallons of clean water.

If your pets take medication, keep a spare prescription in an emergency kit. If you have a diabetic pet make sure to discuss a pre-disaster plan with your vet at the next appointment.

Never ever evacuate a home or business and leave a pet behind. If you are told to evacuate, leave early and take the animals with you, even if you think you'll be gone just a few hours. It is a good idea to Google in a list of hotels that take animals in your area and two hours outside of your area. Jot down the phone numbers and put them in your wallet. Even if you put the numbers in your phone, keep a copy in your wallet because the disaster could interrupt cell phone service.

Until tomorrow,
Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Handle A Crisis

Last year I wrote a blog on who handles different areas of government in direct relation to potential terrorist activity. It is always good to understand what will happen should a crisis occur. Well, in light of the blizzard that just passed by the USA, I thought it was important for me to restate this information. As you know the Department of Homeland Security oversees all types of disasters, like weather-related events. So, if you need to, print out this blog and keep it near your desk or in your wallet. That way, in a time of crisis, you know who is in charge of what and you can better navigate the services you need.

The mayor is responsible at the administrative level for the smooth running of the response effort.

Fire service
The fire service is the linchpin in disaster response. The fire chief is charged with the operational management of the response effort. Everything that occurs in the disaster area falls under his/her authority.

Regional accident and disaster medical teams
Anyone injured in a disaster will require medical assistance as soon as possible.

The police will ensure that the fire and ambulance services can do their job. They will cordon off the disaster area, manage the traffic, and sometimes set up a safety zone around the disaster area.

The Ministry of Defence can deploy military personnel to respond to a disaster.

Municipal services
Behind the scenes, several municipal services play an important role in disaster response, especially when it comes to the after-effects.

Other services
Which services take part in the response effort will depend on the type of disaster. In the case of flooding caused by burst dykes or heavy rainfall, the water authorities will play a role. If a disaster occurs off the coast, the Coastguard will be involved. But other services will also often take part. The Red Cross cares for the injured in disasters.

Until tomorrow,
Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

For tonight and tomorrow....

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. While my family has no personal ties to this tragic event, I feel it is best that I honor those who passed and those who made it out alive. We should always remember history for what it is, good or bad, so we can move forward.

If you want more information, please click here:

Twyla Garrett

Monday, January 26, 2015

Setting Up Your Homeland Security Company

How you define your business to the government can have a lot of benefits. However, it can also lead to a lot of headaches if done incorrectly. So what type of status should you claim when starting a business? Well, let me help!

Sole Proprietorship: This type of business does not make a legal distinction between the business owner and the business itself. Although costs can be low (from taxes to licensing fees)the down-side is that you will be personally responsible for any business debt that may occurs, potential law suits, and your personal income tax reflects your entire business' profit.

A General Partnership is the same as a sole proprietorship but with several owners. Again, the set-up costs are low and there are relatively few regulatory requirements. And, again, the owners are completely liable for all the actions and debts that stem from the business.

Limited Liability Partnership(much like a LLC) is very similar to a general partnership. However, there is a separate classification of partners making each person's liability limited. The downside to this classification is it only "limits" a partner's liability, not erase it completely- which is a common myth. Also the filing and administrative requirements are complex.

C-Corporation is only a form of doing business that creates a separate legal entity from the individual owners. This legal entity can act and do business on its own just as a person would do (i.e. borrow money, enter into lawsuits and contracts, etc.).
With a C-Corporation your "owners" are now shareholders who are not personally liable for the actions and debts stemming from the company. However, if a shareholder wants to leave the business then the paperwork involved isn't easy, making a separation a long-one- which in the case of a nasty separation only makes the situation worse. Also, owners (shareholders) are taxed twice.

S-Corporation is a type of corporation but the business is taxed as if it is a sole proprietorship. Its formation is subject to certain legal criteria such as a maximum number of shareholders. The benefits, unlike a C-Corp., include owners only being taxed one time. However, the administrative costs are higher and all owners (shareholders) have to be U.S. citizens.

Many business owners either chose to set-up as an LLC or an S-Corp. Note, I will not advocate for either because you need to discuss your personal situation with a lawyer and a CPA. However, I will state that an LLC may have to pay more self-employment taxes than S-corps due to IRS regulations.

Have other business questions? Please ask as I am happy to answer them!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Office Politics Often Play Into the Security Business

Some people swear office politics are just a fact of life. Well, that isn't really true. In fact, office politics have brought our country to a standstill. So, how do you know when office politics and the game playing are falling on your shoulders? Well, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer "yes" to more than one- you're playing the game and it is time for things to change.

Does your company lack in vision? In other words, are your making a profit without really knowing where you are going or why?

Forget team meetings, do you hold a lot of one-on-one meetings?

Do you speak of others more than you speak to them?

Are you constantly questioning your employees and/or peers and their motivation for everything they do?

Do you get what you want from people by manipulating them opposed to just asking them to do something for you?

Are you not involved within your organization on a personal level? I mean, do you have your assistants send emails on your behalf, call people on your behalf - perhaps even sign the holiday cards?

You can "undo" office politics- but it is going to take work. If you answered yes to more than one question- shoot me an email and let's talk! If I get enough responses, I may hold a free webinar on undoing office politics.

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Positive Security Services..... Yes, It's Possible

People ask my all the time about business. After all, it is what I do best. I've been invited to The White House to talk about it. I've self-funded a million dollar project. I've failed and succeeded many times over. So what is the key?


Did I not sugar coat the truth just then? Well, i'm not sorry. People in business tend to see failure and make excuses for it. Don't. Accept the failure and either make improvements or make an exit strategy. Don't be blind and go down with the ship. There is no honor in it. There is honor in moving on or moving up- well, they really can be the same thing.

Have a sales person who isn't pulling his/her weight? Don't feel bad, feel lucky. Catch the problem and find a better sales person. Don't make excuses and try to remain positive. If sales have been lagging then the sales person isn't the right person for that job. Being too positive can hurt you in business. Be a realist. Be productive. Be honest with yourself and your employees!

Now, go be successful!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

#TBT Topic Revisit... Disconnect and the DHS

One of the major issues I discuss in my up and coming Homeland Security book is the topic of information disconnect. One of the largest issues I see happening over and over again is a serious disconnect in the flow of information from some states to their local emergency responder organizations. And this isn't a political beef (for the most part) either... it is a financial crisis.
The lack of communication and information can be identified by a lack of funding, which is and isn't preventable. Below are the issues as to why.

Issue #1. Emergency management training sessions are either federally-sponsored or tuition-free. Sounds great, right? Wrong. Many states and municipal agencies will not participate in these programs because it costs money to allow the staff person taking the training time off. Yes, having to pay for PTO and then a placement person to assume the job duties of trainee during his or her absence is a major challenge. There are funds to help cover these costs, you just have to know where and when to look. If you don't know about these funds, you don't seek them out and then training sessions are missed.

Issue #2. This broken link: Yes, have you even decided to take up a course or seek out help only to land on a broken link. Why bother searching for the new page, right? Well, broken links to federal training programs are really preventing the flow of information and other homeland security training issues. How do you overcome this? I know it is annoying, but you will have to play detective and track down the right information and find key links. Don't give up when you arrive on the broken page. BTW- here is the PROPER link (yes, I played detective) for the training programs:

My point is there always will be challenges. Don't think you can't change things. Seek out information, seek out resources and don't get stumped by broken links. You have to be proactive the be preventive!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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