Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Disaster Strikes: Emergency Preparedness for Small Business

The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce and UTPA Small Business Development office presented a seminar on what small businesses can do to prepare themselves for and what they can do to ensure a quick recovery after one.

It is important to note that roughly 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster. Less than 30% of small businesses report having a plan for emergencies. The odds are that your small business, or one that you frequent, may not survive a catastrophe without a plan.

One thing you can do to prepare is to talk to your first responders so they can help you prepare. One aspect of their jobs that has changed over the years is that they spend a lot of time educating the public. They can help you develop a basic needs assessment that you can refine. The day of an emergency is too late to consult with your first responders. Also, don't forget to let your police department know about your business in case they need to contact you for any reason.

Another good tip is that businesses should not let go of old fashioned wired telephone lines. Mobile towers go offline or get saturated during emergencies. Landlines continue to work, even when power goes out.

In terms of insurance, you need to insure what you do, not just what you have. When it comes to property, you must insure the capability of your assets, not so much the market value. Plan not just to replace stuff; plan so that you can continue in business no matter what happens.

There are many things you can do to prepare for disaster and for a quick recovery. You can find out more at http://www.ready.gov and at http://www.texasprepares.org.

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