Weathering the storm: disaster preparedness tips for small business owners
(BPT) - As a nation, we learned several hard lessons following the recent natural disasters in Oklahoma and along the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged East Coast. While we often think of the devastation inflicted upon individual community members, we can’t overlook the effects that natural disasters have on the backbones of our local economies: small businesses.
If a small business can’t resume operations within 10 days following a natural disaster, the chances are it won’t survive, according to Bolt Insurance Agency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and of those that do reopen, 25 percent fail within one year. What’s more, many small businesses do not have disaster preparedness plans in place, according to FEMA.
After a category five tornado hit Oklahoma in May, thousands of small businesses in the area struggled to recover. More than 6,000 companies in Moore, Okla. – a region heavily populated with small businesses – were affected, compromising sales of more than $1.4 billion according to a report by Dun & Bradstreet. Eight months after Hurricane Sandy hit, businesses in New Jersey and New York are still trying to get back on their feet. In New Jersey, nearly 19,000 businesses sustained damage of $250,000 or more, and total business losses neared $8.3 billion, according to findings from the National Hurricane Center report.