In conjunction with National PrepareAthon! Day tomorrow, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has launched EZ-PREP, an emergency preparedness and response planning guide for small businesses.

“Unfortunately, many businesses are not prepared to respond to disasters,” says Gail Moraton, IBHS business resiliency program manager. “Small businesses can be particularly vulnerable during any kind of disaster, but especially during severe weather events, because they often have all of their operations concentrated in one location.”

She says the new, free toolkit will help small businesses plan ahead.

America’s PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign, initiated by the Federal Emergency Management Association, to increase community preparedness and resilience. National PrepareAthon! Day is held twice a year (April 30 and September 30), to focus attention on the importance of creating a more resilient nation by bringing together stakeholders, communities, home and business owners and individuals to take preparedness action.

“We know from experience that communities with home and business owners who are prepared for disasters are far more likely to suffer less damage and recover quicker than those who are not prepared,” says Moraton.

The steps listed in EZ-PREP are as follows:

  1. Develop “best practices” to be taken before, during and after an emergency, along with actions to address unique challenges that are specific to each business’s facilities and operations, and the risks it faces.
  2. Consider non-weather-related threats and risks in addition to severe weather plans, including those that stem from the nature of the business, such as hot work operations, metalworking and woodworking, manufacturing, flammable liquids handling and storage, plastics storage, cooking equipment, refrigeration systems, and other business-related risks of greatest concern to each business. Plan for the highest ranking threats as soon as possible.
  3. Inspect the vulnerable areas of your physical property, including building envelope (roof, windows, walls and doors), surrounding premises, worksite layout and emergency systems, to ensure your plan protects the most vulnerable assets and operations.
  4. Identify and implement the steps needed to protect people and property. Most storms and many other types of natural hazards can be tracked and monitored, which allows for at least some preparedness planning. However, when that is not the case, emergency planning will help make businesses more resilient and better able to withstand an event that happens without warning.

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