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Episode #19: Having A Disaster Plan with Coni Meyers

Coni Meyers is a life coach and she has worked with people on their personal transitions but now she has created disaster plans for people recovering from and responding to disasters. She's a former FEMA inspector and is creating a certification program for disaster specialists.

In this episode, Millionacres Editor, Deidre Woollard, interviews disaster preparation expert Coni Meyers of CKM Group. They discuss the importance of preparing for the unexpected for real estate investors, businesses and individuals.


Coni Meyers: I just did a consulting job with a company that had 18,000 members of association, and they wanted to do something for their members. I said, "Well, the best place to start is by making your disaster planning and kits a good example." There were four people on the phone with me and there was dead silence. [laughs] I said, "You do have an emergency kit, right?" There was one lady piped up and she goes, "Well, there was a lady here a few years ago that put something together. It's probably in the box in the storage room, we took everything out of her desk." It turned out that they did find it, it was 11 years previous. Not a single person that was in that association, when that was written, was there anymore. Nobody even knew where the first aid kit except the risk manager because it was underneath her desk. Starting with your business continuity plan and incorporating all the emergency. In the course, I have a list of questions of what you need to ask yourself so you know what kind of plans you need to have. You need to have a communications plan, you need to have an evacuation plan, you need to have a kid plan if you have kids, you need to have a parents plan if you have parents and if you have special needs people in your house, you need to have that. You need to have for your business, you need to have a data plan, a communications plan, a crisis management plan. I think there's about 10 different plans you should have for your business. Here's a very scary statistic. FEMA has done research and they show that if you do not have an emergency plan as a business, at the end of two years if you experience a disaster, 75 percent of those businesses are no longer in business. That is a very good reason to put a plan together. [MUSIC]

Deidre Woollard: You are listening to The Millionacres Podcast. Our mission at Millionacres is to educate and empower investors to make great decisions and achieve real estate investing success. We provide regular content and perspective for everyone from those just starting out, to season pros with decades of experience. At Millionacres, we work every day to help demystify real estate investing and build real wealth.

Hello, I'm Deidre Woollard, an editor at Millionacres. Thank you so much for tuning into The Millionacres Podcast. Today I'm thinking about how to plan for the unexpected. Because if there was anything else that 2020 taught us, it's things can change on a dime. This is, in my opinion, much more than just COVID-19. We've seen wildfires, floods. We have vaccines for the virus hopefully, but what we don't have is a plan for an increasingly unsettled planet. That's why I'm really excited to talk to Coni Meyers today. I've known Coni for few years and I've been excited this year by her work with the California Association of Realtors on disaster planning. She's a life coach and she's worked with people on their personal transitions for years. But now she's got these disaster plans for people on how to recover from disasters, how to respond to them, how to prepare for them. She's a former FEMA inspector and she's creating a certification program for disaster specialists, which is I think, something that we really need right now. Hi, Coni. I'm happy to be talking to you today. I've been following your work on disaster preparedness and I think a lot of real estate investors just don't think about this. Why do you think that is?

Coni Meyers: First of all, thank you for having me. But I really believe it's because people don't want to think about disasters. It's like people don't want to think about wills because they have to think about dying. If you have to think about being prepared and you're thinking about disasters, all of a sudden you have to really face the fact that it could happen. A recent study found that 61 percent of Americans believe that they are going to experience some kind of a disaster the next 3-5 years, and only 15-35 percent of them are actually prepared. That shows you that there's actually a big disconnect into what they feel is going to happen and what they really need to do about it. FEMA actually calls it preparedness procrastination.

Deidre Woollard: That makes a lot of sense. I noticed in your program you've broken it down into four components. Can you share that with our listeners?

Coni Meyers: Absolutely. The certification has four separate courses. The first one is called, be the good news in the face of bad news, and it's really an overview of the very sobering idea of really what's happening as far as the cost of natural disasters, as well as what the frequency is and the intensity. It also goes into preparedness, how to be prepared, as well as disaster type preparedness because a fire, you prepare a little differently than you do from an earthquake.

The fourth course is all about what services are available out there and what they do. The second course is survival, mindset, leadership and communication. People that are first responders and people that have been victims will tell you the most important thing you can do is to have a resilient mindset. Resilience is used a lot in the emergency management, whether it's dealing with the infrastructure, communities, business, or individuals. As an individual or as a business owner or a property investor, you need to understand the mindset of resilience. I also go into leadership. You might have a great property management company, but you might not be the right person to handle your crisis knowledge or your crisis management team. Then communication is everything. As an investor, communicating with your tenants, communicating with the agencies, the news media, all that, you've got to have a strong plan for that.

The third course is all about man made disasters. It's called disasters of our own making. It talks about pandemics, it talks about mass shootings, it talks about nuclear explosion, it talks about bomb explosions, it talks about power outages. It's all those things that we can cause ourselves. Then the fourth course is the role to recovery, managing insurance, mortgages, and recovery services. It dives deep into insurance, what you need to know, what the insurance company, is facing. There's some real reality checks when it comes to insurance right now. There's people out there actually predicting that property may become uninsured at some point if something doesn't turn around. Mortgages, it's all about what happens when there's a disaster. The pandemic is a perfect example. We've got forbearances out there now, we've got property investors that are having to hold on because they can't get rid of anybody. There's lots of factors that come into play with mortgages. Then the recovery services, there's so many services out there over and above FEMA. There's faith-base, as well as non-profit. So we cover all of that.

Deidre Woollard: Interesting. Why do you feel that the certification program is important right now versus any other time in history?

Coni Meyers: Well, because of 2020. We've had disasters, including the pandemic, but far above that. We've had what they call derecho winds in the Midwest. It was sideways winds that did a lot of damage in five or six states. There were six weeks in a row we had a new type of disaster. Six weeks in a row. We had double hurricanes in the Gulf, there was hurricane force winds throughout the South East, but there wasn't a hurricane, this formed 100 different tornadoes around the area. The whole Western United States was on fire, and they have things called firenadoes, which actually tornadoes that are made out of fire. Then the Gulf of Maine has the dubious honor of having the temperature of the water rise more than any other body of water on the planet. Just recently, a piece of Antarctica broke off into an iceberg that's the size of Manhattan. It boils down to money and the number of disasters and the intensity of it. We all have to be prepared. We all have to be ready. Like I said, only 15-35 percent depending on what type of preparedness you're talking about are prepared. My vision is to have 30 million people be more prepared in the next five years. In order to do that, I need lots of people helping me go out to the communities and help the communities become prepared.

Deidre Woollard: That is a great mission. This podcast is for real estate investors. I feel like real estate investors have a double role here because they have to protect a property, but they also have to protect tenants. Whether they are short-term investor or whether they have long-term tenants, commercial, all of that. It's really the double role. How do you advise property investors on how to do that?

Coni Meyers: Well, the first and most important thing is to do a risk assessment. Take a look at all the types of disasters that can happen or the crisis that can happen, and determine what in your area are you most at risk. Then deciding what you can do to mitigate as much of that ahead of time as possible. Checking with your emergency management office, they can give you some great information about the types of disasters that happen most frequently in that area. Check in with your insurance, and then making sure that you understand and read all the fine print of the insurance policies. Because you need to understand what your limits are, what kind of additional insurance you might need, and be able to really understand based upon the type of risk that you are looking at, what you're covered for and what you're not covered for. Then there's other agencies, you can reach out to FEMA and lots of local other agencies depending upon what the type of disasters we're talking about. Then make sure you create an annual checklist of things to look at every single year and make sure that you share the information and your plans and everything with your tenants. It might be a good idea to put together a Facebook where you update. If there is a disaster, you can update them on what's happening. It really starts with basic risk assessment and making sure you know exactly what you're looking at. That's before you buy a property, as well as if you already have a property

Deidre Woollard: Well, that is a really good point about before you buy a property and that brings me to my next question which is, one of the things this year I've learned is just that the wild fire and floodplain maps are inaccurate in terms of predicting what's going to happen. I know the floodplain maps used to say this is 100-year flood zone, and that is completely not the case anymore. Do you think that's a situation that's going to get better? We've seen some technology trying to predict where wildfires are going to go, for example, but then we've got, like you said, the firenadoes. Do you feel like technology is going to help solve this?

Coni Meyers: Well, what technology is doing, is it's helping to have more private insurers come into the flood insurance market which is good for taxpayers. But the situation in the insurance, I just mentioned that I would never get depressed if I didn't get depressed writing a man-made disasters course. But in reality, when I was writing the insurance course, it was terrifying. I'm a girl that has her glass half full all the time and I had a hard time finding anything. There are actually people in the insurance business that look at how rating networks and the actuaries. There are some of them that are saying if things don't change, property is going to become uninsurable. It's very scary, what's happening in the insurance business. Like in California, throughout the country now, insurance companies are pulling out. It's really, really important that we really take a look at what's causing this and then see what we can do to correct the problem. But it's also really important that the insurance companies, they have to do something to be able to make insurance affordable because in some places, rates have gone up 500 percent and some of them have actually pulled out completely. The floodplain information is really critical, and FEMA started last year on working on the floodplain maps.

There's lots of different organizations and I do think technology will help when it comes to fire, deciding when the fire hazards are going to be and what to do about it. It really is going to boil down to we all have to play our part and doing everything we can. The cost of disasters, let me just give you a quick statistic. From 1980-2019, the average cost with inflation adjusted was $44 billion a year. Now if you look at the last five years from 2014-2019, the cost of insurance of disasters went up to $106 billion per year. If you look at the last three years, it went from $106-$152 billion per year. That doesn't include 2020. So whether you're talking insurance or natural disasters, or the monies that are going to be made available through FEMA or whatever the source is, it really boils down to the fact that we got to take this information and do something seriously and do it quickly.

Deidre Woollard: It's a lot. I know you talked about insurance. I've heard in California, they have that program for people that eventually can't get reinsured in certain areas. Yes, exactly the FAIR Program. That makes me also wonder about insurance. Do you think that the insurance industry itself is going to have to shift? Obviously, they can't continue to keep paying this out. You mentioned the National Flood Insurance Program. We've got some support from the government. Do you think we're going to need to see more of that to support people, or the insurance company is going to find a way to get better at this or they're going to have to raise their rates?

Coni Meyers: Well, I think it's actually a combination of all of it, Deidre. I think the insurance companies are actually looking at what they can do to help change the greenhouse gases, they're very involved in that. They've got new technology that they're coming out with to try and support that. I do believe that it's not going to get better. People think the end of 2020 is close, and 2021 is going to be different. I hate to tell you but I don't think that's going to happen. We have to look at the long term effects. The one good thing, the FAIR Program is backed by taxpayers. The taxpayers have played a huge role, and more and more people have had to go to the FAIR Program because other insurance companies pulled out or they can't afford it. The pandemic is a good example of this. If you have a problem with a large losses through the FAIR Program, and you also have problems with mortgages which are also backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are also taxpayer dollars, that creates a really double situation for the financial situation of this country. All of that needs to be looked at and it's going to take a joint effort between the government agencies and insurance agencies, and businesses to come together and try to solve some of these really grave issues. Technology is going to help because the number of people getting into the FAIR Program as well as the flood insurance program that are private insurers, has gone up dramatically over the last few years, and that's because of technology. They were better able to forecast. The other situation is, and there's discussion right now about it, is that insurance companies are not allowed to come up with a price based upon future risk. That's what we're looking at right now. We're looking at what the future risk is going to be. Because it's grown so dramatically. So now they're looking at how they can help the insurance companies and some states are looking at, how do we allow for the potential risk rather than what's already happened?

Deidre Woollard: Interesting. That makes me think also about rebuilding. So a lot of times we've seen this already in California when fire happens and it destroys an area, people tend to just rebuild in the same place. I think that insurance companies are probably going to be looking at whether or not they just pay out and have someone rebuild in the same place, if there's a risk of that happening again.

Coni Meyers: Well, that's a very interesting situation and it happens a lot also in the South of these hurricanes where people try to rebuild. If you have experience, and I don't remember if it's one or two. I think it's if it's two disasters where you've received FEMA money and you want to build back in the same place, it's at your own expense. You don't get FEMA money again. I'm sure insurance companies are looking at how they can create barriers. That's going to reduce the value of people's properties. If they have a large property that's out in the woods and all of a sudden, the insurance company says, "We're not going to insure this area," that's going to change the value of your property. I do believe that there's going to be some real strong shifts in where you're allowed to rebuild, just like floods. With the new flood plans, if you are a high-risk, you have to carry flood insurance. But there's also areas where you cannot build or that property is taken away from you. Something I want to mention about that. If you're in a low-risk or a medium-risk area, 25 percent of the FEMA claims are in those areas. If you don't carry flood insurance, you should look at it even if you're at low, or a medium-risk. I actually did disaster inspections on mountains that was for flooding. You just never know when it's going to happen. Ninety-eight percent of all counties in the United States experience flooding and it's getting worse. Flood is a big problem whether you're an investor or whether you're thinking about your private home.

Deidre Woollard: That's a really good point. I know in Houston, the government has bought back some of the properties because they were in floodplain areas. Certainly you think about Florida. I know in some areas they're not even doing 30-year mortgages in some places just because the sea level is going to rise to a certain point. So all of that really plays into just how big a problem this is going to be in the future.

Coni Meyers: Well, I think especially when it comes to investors, that is something that they definitely need to look at. I know that a lot of real estate agents do a lot of property in California and Florida, and all the coastlines. They're being asked out, "So what is the risk of my house if the water rises?" It is rising. The bottom line, it is rising. It's going to affect values. But that is certainly something that if I was an investor, I would be checking that out very carefully. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration actually has a map, where you can go on and you can click different areas and you can see what the sea level, how much it's risen in that area. What I find interesting is, in different areas it rises a different amount. I'm not quite sure how that works. But you can go out there and actually checkout for the particular areas you're looking for, what the forecast is.

Deidre Woollard: We're here with Coni Meyers of CKM Solutions and we're talking disaster plan. I lived in California for a long time and I learned that you had to prepare for different types of disasters. For earthquakes, you had to have bottled water and food. For wildfires, you have to have a go bag and know where all of your documents are. So what do you advise people in terms of preparing for this type of thing? Do you give them multiple plans like that depending on what the situation is?

Coni Myers: Yes. In my certification, I have an emergency checklist that we can go through. The bottom line is, you don't need just one disaster kit, emergency kit, you need four. You need one for your home, you need one, a go-bag. Your main disaster kit is a duffel bag or maybe two duffel bags that you put everything and is on your checklist. But you also, if you need to be rescue, you can't take those with you. You need a go-bag that you can grab and just go. That has absolutely bare minimum, essential things like medication, extra cellphone batteries, that sort of thing, toothbrush, would be good. Then you need one for your car. That might be different depending upon where you live. You need one for your car, and then you need to have one for your place of business. If your investors have like a property management company or they have an office that they've got people in, each individual in that company should have their own specific emergency kit at work, that has medication or anything that's specific to what their needs are. Then for the office, you need to have an emergency kit. Bottom line is, everybody needs to know where it is. I just did a consulting job with a company that had 18,000 members, it was an association. They wanted to do something for their members. So I said the best place to start is by making your disaster planning and kits a good example. There were four people on the phone with me and there was dead silence. [laughs] I said, "You do have an emergency kit, right?" There was one lady piped up and she goes, "Well, there was a lady here a few years ago that put something together, it's probably in the box in the storage room where we took everything out of her desk." It turned out that they did find it, it was 11 years previous. Not a single person that was in that association, when that was written, there anymore. Nobody even knew where the first aid kit except the risk management person, because it was underneath her desk. Starting with your business continuity plan, and incorporating all the emergency. In the course, I have a list of questions of what you need to ask yourself so you know what kind of plans you need to have. You need to have a communications plan, you need to have an evacuation plan, you need to have a kid plan, if you have kids. You need to have a parent plan, if you have parents, special needs people in your house, you need to have that. You need to have for your business, you need to have a data plan, a communications plan, a crisis management plan. I think there's about 10 different plans you should have for your business. Here's a very scary statistic. FEMA has done research, and they show that if you do not have a emergency plan as a business, at the end of two years if you experience a disaster, 75 percent of those businesses are no longer in business. That is a very good reason to put a plan together.

Deidre Woollard: Yeah, that is a really good reason. I think that's really important for rental property investors. They've got this valuable piece of property, they've got so much invested in it, and yet they may not have a plan to protect it.

Coni Meyers: For real estate investors, they need two plans. They need one for their office and what they're going to do. They also need a tenant plan. There's a whole list of things they can put into that tenant plan. That's part of the information that the tenants receive when they start doing the rental.

Deidre Woollard: I think that is a really good plan. I've rented plenty of places and I've never received anything like that. I think that's something that a lot of rental property investors don't think about. That really makes me think again about Airbnbs. Because with Airbnbs, not only they are in vacation places where things might happen, but there's also maybe some man-made disasters that could be caused by tenants, things like buyers and things like that. For those short-term rentals, how do you prevent against those things, or how do you make sure short-term renters are prepared?

Coni Meyers: Well, I was actually an Airbnb person for eight years. I had 3,000 people come to my home during that period of time. So I can really relate to an Airbnb host. I think the most important thing is, first of all when you are pre-qualifying the people that are coming into your home, I always make sure I knew a little bit about them. If they didn't have anything in their profile or anything, I would ask questions. I think first of all, being good at planning, don't just take everybody. Then if they're renting out the entire property, I just rented out rooms, but if they're renting out the entire property, make sure you have a good security deposit that will help them to be a little more conscientious about what they're doing. Make sure that they know where the fire extinguisher is, the fire alarms, and give them the safety list to help prevent that sort of thing. The good news, if you are an Airbnb person, Airbnb does cover you for a million dollars for each stay. You do have backup. I had to use it one time. As a personal experience with that as well, it was not a pleasant experience. That's where I learned to really screen the people that you would have to come and stay in your home, if they're a guest in your home or in your rental.

Deidre Woollard: Yeah, definitely. Let's talk a little bit more about FEMA, because you were a FEMA inspector for all those years. I think one of the things that I think people don't understand FEMA, they also don't understand what to do when something does happen. My mother-in-law was in the Paradise fires and lost her property. One of the things I saw her and her partner going through is that they didn't know where to turn. So what do you tell people about that recovery process? How does that even start?

Coni Meyers: Well, I think it's important, and this is where people that want to be leaders in the community, for example, if some of your investors want to really be a part of the community. This is something that will be really good to take the certification, because people need to know who they can turn to. The real estate agents that take my course, they are going to be a trusted source that will be able to help, and be able to reach out to their community, give them the information. That's what this certification is all about. I actually provide a consumer course that can be customized for the area that the person that becomes a CKM advisor is in. They can go out to their community and help to prepare them. But the biggest and most important thing is, you'll be given information by the local authorities. There's also a program called the CERT program, Community Emergency Response Teams. It was started in 1985 by the Los Angeles fire department and now is under the FEMA guidelines and it's nationwide. We have 600,000 volunteers in 2,700 communities. Get involve with that so you can help to let people know what to do. It's a hands-on training, it's free, it's 17 and a half hours and it does such things like search and rescue, first aid, resuscitation, team organization, those kinds of things. If you are so incline that you want to be a participant in your community, I highly recommend you to do those things. To find out where to go, the main thing you just have to go to It has how to reach out to them. They have a special number, they have especially website called It's either dot org or dot gov, where you go and you make your initial application with FEMA. That's usually where you start and then there's all kinds of other assistance that is available that they oftentimes will recommend you to. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are also really good sources of what kind of information is available or what kind of assistance might be out there. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have some special programs where there's a disaster. There's also a program, I think it's under the headings of the VA. It's a rural area like Paradise was. There are special programs that kick-in when there's a federally declared disaster just for rural areas. There's lots and lots of resources. The last section of my last course, I talk about a lot of non-profits, and they all have specific purposes for what they're trying to do. What's interesting is they've all gone from one or two people with an idea, and now they're global. You'll start hearing about going to your church, because what the non-profits do is they reach out to churches, there's also a lot of faith-based organizations. But the first place you need to go is, I believe it is. Go there and that's where you make your initial application. They typically set up a field offices where you can go, and that's where all of the people that have recovery services will come to. They'll go to the shelters, and set up, and let you know what's available. But the first place to start is

Deidre Woollard: Thank you, that makes a lot of sense. What happens if you're a rental property investor and it's a property that you're not near. Let's say you had a property in Florida, but you're actually based in New York and there's a hurricane or a flood. What kind of things do those types of investors need to keep in mind and how can you manage a recovery remotely? Is that even possible?

Coni Meyers: Well, if it all possible, as an investor, I would want to go there and be there if disaster happens to assess it myself and get face to face with people that I need to get face to face with depending on what type of disaster it is. If you can't go, somebody in your organization go and oversee the steps. When it comes for preparedness that's a little different, you can do that remotely. You can have somebody that goes out, you can reach out to the emergency management office and FEMA office and that sort of thing. You need to determine what kind of risk you have and then what to do about it. That could be done remotely as long as you have good property management people or somebody in the area that can oversee what's happening because without having hands-on, you're not going to know exactly what is needed and what's going on. Unfortunately, if there is a disaster, there are a lot of contractors and a lot of scam artists who come out of the woodwork. You need to really be conscious of, if it isn't you going to the disasters, sending somebody you can trust to get the job done. If you have a property management company in the local area and you trust them, but I would make sure I stay in close contact with them. You want to reach out to the tenants. That's why maybe a Facebook page or something like that where you're getting interaction with your tenants is critically important. Then having somebody that goes door-to-door to really assess what's happened with each of the tenants is also a really good idea. There are some really good property management software programs out there, built in e-mail and messaging systems. But it really boils to communication, having strong communication, crisis management team. So picking the people that are going to be best. Who is the best or who is the best leader? Get somebody that's really detail-oriented, is a project manager, can motivate people, it comes back to mindset. All of that, so it can be done remotely, but if it was my investment property, if it wasn't me going there, it would be somebody that I highly trust.

Deidre Woollard: That's very important. You mentioned scams, I think that's another important thing to touch on here because I've seen that happen with disasters, it's like a double whammy to people that these people come out of the woodwork to basically to cheat people who are already in distress. Have you seen anything like that or heard any stories? What do you recommend that people do to protect themselves?

Coni Meyers: Well, unfortunately, I have seen it. As a FEMA inspector, you go out, and you're not trying to make people hold. So if you've got a 65-inch TV, you're not going to get 65-inch TV. FEMA is all about safe, securing, sanitary. That means, a spoon or fork and knife for each member of the household or table and chairs for everybody in the house, those sorts of things. But when those people get or even before they get the FEMA check, they've got people knocking on their doors, they come from all over the country to offer their services. So when they get the check, quite frequently, what they will do is just say, "Okay, here's the money," and they'll pay the entire amount upfront and the person just takes off with the money. Making sure that you do not do that. Make sure that you look for quality, and if you don't know quality contractors that you need to have to do the work, then make sure you get referrals from people that you trust, and that you know are going to do the job correctly. When people comment, "It sounds like it's too good to be true." It's too good to be true. Being very conscious of who you're talking to and if you don't know somebody, finding a friend or somebody you do know that you trust to help you and guide you in getting somebody that's qualified. Check out their credentials, make sure you ask for their licenses because many of these people that come into these areas, they don't have licenses. So make sure they have their license that they're up-straight contractor.

Deidre Woollard: Yeah, that's very important. As we wrap up, you mentioned earlier, researching a property. So what other things can you do to protect yourself about researching natural disasters or the history of a property to find out maybe what has happened beforehand? What are some good resources there?

Coni Meyers: Well, first of all, through FEMA there's all kinds of information on what to look for. I think really the most important thing is to go to your local agencies, go to your local insurance companies, and find out from them what the history's been. You can go onto and they have a history of all natural disasters. You can go back whatever year you want to look at, and you can see how many disasters were in that particular area. Doing your research online, there's website called, which is a public website for FEMA, well, for all types of disasters, primarily FEMA. They have all kinds of forms and things you go on there, there's toolkits and things you can pull up to be able to help plan that out. Also, I think it's really important, check with your real estate agent. If you have a professional real estate agent in the area, check with them and find out what they know, and don't forget man-made disasters, don't forget because there's power outages, there's active shooters, there's pandemics, there's chemical incidents, there's explosions, there's all these things. If you're in a community say, for example, has a refinery, when was the last time that refinery exploded, or has it? Would that affect the property? So being aware of what is in the surrounding community and knowing what hazard might happen, it takes research, it takes talking to people, a lot of time on the internet, or talking to somebody that really knows what they're doing like a CKM advisor. [laughs]

Deidre Woollard: Awesome. As we wrap up, one of the things I've learned from you in this hour, I think is just how you have to prepare. But the thing is, no one wants to talk about this, no one wants to do this. How would you incentivize property investors to think about this? Do they need to set aside time at the beginning of every year and make it a new year's resolution? How would the people get motivated to do this?

Coni Meyers: Well, that boils down to mindset. I mean, when you see on TV after there's a disaster, you see two types of people. You see the one that is the victim, "Oh, my God, what am I going do? My house is gone, everything is gone, what am I going to do?" Then you have the other person who says, "We have our lives, we can rebuild." It takes that resilient mindset to help move forward in preparation. What is the first step you can take with where you are and what you have right now? Then, yes, annual planning is critical. If you don't want to do it yourself, you can reach out to somebody like me or somebody else that has that expertise that will help to get you going. I have a complete business continuity plan outlined that I help people make those first steps because it is hard, we don't want to think about it. But once you take that first step, then the second step shows up, so try to chop it up not into, "Oh, my God I have to do this great big plan." But take one itsy-bitsy baby step at a time, and the first step might be figuring out how do I get myself into resilient mindset? Then what is the first step I can take with where I am and what I have? So it really boils down to mindset and being able to take that first step.

Deidre Woollard: Really good point. I think a lot of us have the fear, but not the action, and I think putting some of that action in place takes away some of that fear.

Coni Meyers: Actually, there is an acronym that is used by emergency management is called STOP. The S stands for stop, so before you do anything, just stop everything you're doing. Let your mind go, and then take three or four really deep breaths. So you bring yourself to the present room, that's take a breath for T. Then observe. Observe what's going on inside of you, and then observe what is it you want to do. If it's a particular building, imagine the building and imagine where it is, what it is, observe that building. Then P for proceed, proceed with a plan. Emergency management people use it all the time. Before they go into a disaster, first responders use it before they go into a fire, they all take that second to know what to do. Here's a really good example. Last year when I was at the re-imagine, I did a forum for the professional development education committee. I had a FEMA person, I had a person from CERT, a victim, and association executive from Santa Barbara from fires and the floods or mud flows. The fire chief who was the CERT man, also the head of the CERT program in Los Angeles and he lives in Woodland Hills. He said that he was in Woodland Hills when the fires were coming into his neighborhood. Now here's a trained first responder, the heads of the CERT program. He said, "I had to stop because I was going into panic mode because it was headed to my house. He had to stop and do this before he could proceed, and then that natural reaction of being prepared and being trained. You can't just be prepared, but you have to drill and you have to drill and you have to drill. Putting all that together, just remember STOP, and that will help you to take that very first step.

Deidre Woollard: I love that. That's a perfect place to end this. Just a reminder for listeners, you can discover Coni's crisis knowledge management certification at Thank you so much for doing this.

Coni Meyers: My pleasure. The more I can get it up, the better I like.

Deidre Woollard: Thank you for tuning into the million acres broadcast. I hope you liked today's show. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider subscribing through your favorite podcast provider. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line at Stay well and stay invested. [MUSIC] People on this program may have an interest in the deals, offerings, or services they discussed. A Millionacres or the Motley Fool may have a formal recommendation for or against. Always consult a certified tax professional before acting on tax advice and do not buy or sell assets based solely on what you hear.