What’s the psychological toll of this kind of constant worry, of expecting the worst outcome and investing in the aftermath? Catherine Hooper, a New York-based safety consultant who founded Black Umbrella, which creates personalized escape plans and preparedness packets, says that she’s seen a consistent level of interest in this subject since starting her business in 2009. After seeing residents of New Orleans suffer through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she kept thinking to herself, "How could they not be more prepared?" She realized she couldn’t criticize them if she hadn’t prepared for a similar situation herself. After researching and finding no existing service, lots of incomplete and often contradictory information, and lots of interest from her friends, she decided to launch Black Umbrella.
Hooper has helped hundreds plan for what to do during a disaster and what comes next, and she says even the exercise of preparing can be emotional.
"Somebody who makes multimillion-dollar decisions multiple times a day"—Hooper tends to deal with very wealthy clients—"you’d think they’d be good at this, but it’s not easy," she says.