Few Companies Prepared For Natural, Terrorist Disasters--Small Business Digest Offers Free Preparedness Book

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With less than 25% of all companies prepared for a disaster like Katrina or terrorist attacks, Small Business Digest offers special report and free book used by response agencies.

The nation’s businesses face danger from two potential disaster points --- natural events such as Hurricane Katrina and terrorist attacks.

How individuals and businesses prepare for and handle these catastrophes often decide who will survive and who will die.

Surprisingly, surveys conducted by Small Business Digest indicate that one of four businesses do not have a disaster plan. Another 30% have little or no procedures in place to coordinate employees caught in a disaster situation.

To help companies prepare for a catastrophic episode, Small Business Digest (http://www.2sbdigest.com) offers a special report and free book used by response agencies.

Besides terrorist attacks and the southern US hurricane belt, weather watch officials warn that areas, such as metropolitan New York City are also very vulnerable to natural disasters such as storm surges.

At the same time, raging wildfires and other events inland can also impact individuals and businesses to the extent that their survival is in danger.

For the nation’s business infrastructure, preparedness is not a high priority. Despite the lessons of Katrina, less than one business in four, according to surveys by Small Business Digest, have stored key records in a safe, off-site location.

One critical lesson learned on 9/11 and in the Katrina episode was the importance of communication. Firms need, therefore, to have or need to build new systems and procedures to communicate with employees, customers, vendors, utilities and regulators during and following a crisis.

A majority of those surveyed however said they had no such plans nor were they a priority.

Experts say business managers should have plans in place for the following:

  •     Communicating with employees during and after a disaster
  •     Fall-back facilities to continue even if the company’s primary location is inoperable
  •     Keeping key records backed-up and away from vulnerable locations
  •     Cash funds available to see the business through the first days after a disaster
  •     Stockpiling clothing and other necessities needed by employees
  •     Planning to get back in business quickly

That this is not the case for a majority of companies surveyed is surprising, given that some businesses are still reeling from the impact of 9/11 and other terrorist activities as well as Katrina and the wildfires in the west.

Plans for keeping in touch with customers are also not finalized in a majority of companies surveyed.

The impact of not having a contingency plan was shown this summer with the impact of the foiled terrorist plane attack in Britain.

Many firms that depended on traveling representatives or support had severe dislocation problems due to the British airline terrorist threat which threw many in person activities in disarray for weeks.

Natural disasters are more apt to hit the nation’s businesses and be more widespread. In these situations, the impact on firms can be devastating.

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Donald Mazzella
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