According to David Paulison, former executive director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 to 60 percent of small businesses without a disaster plan in place don’t survive after a disaster. Creating an effective disaster plan need not cost money or take much time. The federal government provides resources to help develop an emergency preparedness plan. A quick and easy way to start is by filling out Emergency Response Plan and Business Continuity Plan from FEMA’s Ready Business.
A disaster plan protects employees, lessens the financial impact of a disaster on a company and enables the business to re-open quickly after a disaster, which can take many forms.
- Natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and widespread illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic.
- Human-caused hazards, such as accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism.
- Technology-related hazards, such as hacker disruption and failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to educate small businesses on the importance of recovery planning and provide the following resources.
- Disaster Recovery: A Guide to SBA’s Disaster Assistance Programs, an online self-paced guide that provides an overview of SBA’s assistance programs, resources, tips and regulations.
- Disaster Planning Can Reduce Time to Recovery and Expense, provides resources to develop a plan.
- Educational Archived Webinars on planning business continuity and disaster recovery strategy.
- Testing for Gaps in the Recovery Plan and determining how long takes to get all systems up and running.
- Disaster Assistance
- Identify critical business systems [PDF]
- Create an Emergency Communications Plan [PDF]
FEMA’s Ready Business Preparedness Planning for Your Business provides tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards and follows the program elements within National Fire Protection Association 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. The five steps in developing a preparedness program are:
The American Red Cross’ Ready Rating program helps businesses prepare for disasters and other emergencies. Resources include an online self assessment to measure level of preparedness, the ability to create customized emergency plans, and an area to shop for equipment and supplies shopping.