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Is Your Business Prepared?

by BBB Staff | Jul 24, 2019 9:34:21 AM

The recent
earthquakes in California are a stark reminder of how quickly a typical day can
be turned on its head. It’s important for your business to prepare now because,
often, disasters can strike with little to no warning. The aftermath can be
devastating for small businesses. The Institute for Business and Home Safety
estimates 25% of businesses don’t open again following a major disaster. A good
crisis management plan can make all the difference. It can help ensure the
safety of employees and customers as well as keep your business running.

First,
identify the risks in your area. Is it floods, earthquakes, wildfires, etc.?
Next, consider the potential impacts on your business. What structural damage
and hazards could you and your employees face? How will you access vital
records? Will transportation be an issue, or can you temporarily work off-site?
Finally, create a response plan that addresses all foreseeable obstacles. That
will lessen the financial impact and get you back to work safely. Need help
with this? The Small Business Administration
(SBA)
has several
disaster-specific checklists to use.

While you
might be able to minimize the financial impact on your business with planning
ahead, you won’t be able to avoid it completely. Don’t worry, there is help
available. You’ll want to first find out if financial assistance through FEMA is available. This can help you and
your employees with personal expenses like food, clothing and housing. To cover
business assets that were destroyed or damaged in a declared disaster, the SBA
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide low-interest loans. These cover
repair and replacement costs for real estate, personal property, machinery,
equipment, inventory and business assets. A special tax provision for financial
recovery
may also be
available. Make sure these resources are part of your planning process.

Cleaning up
from a disaster can be hazardous. Be sure to lookout for risks like downed
power lines or contaminated water. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) has tips on how to safely cleanup following a disaster.

Remember,
disaster preparedness planning is good business!

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