An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying the risks relevant to your location, both natural and man-made. Then, keep your plan of action updated.
Preserve your equipment and business records by referencing this IRS guide on protecting your information before an emergency strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers an emergency preparedness checklist and toolkit.
Specific Disaster Checklists & Tips
Focus on disasters that pose a realistic risk to your small business. Consult the following resources to lessen the financial impact of disasters and reopen your business quickly.
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The Small Business Administration also offers emergency preparedness training with a self-paced overview of SBA’s disaster assistance programs, resources and regulations.
Getting Financial Assistance
When a disaster hits your small business, first contact FEMA to apply for financial assistance. They can provide money for housing along with other personal expenses including food, clothing and medicine.
The SBA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide low-interest loans for damaged and destroyed assets in a declared disaster. These include repair and replacement costs for real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory, and business assets.
Disaster Assistance Loans
Check to see if one of these loans apply.
- Home and Property Disaster loans
- Economic Injury loans
- Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster loans
- Farm Emergency Loans
Other Disaster Aid Sources
Businesses in federally declared disaster areas could qualify for special tax provisions for financial recovery. The Farm Service Agency also provides a disaster assistance guide for farmers and ranchers after natural disasters.
Take precautions to avoid injury or illness occurring in the cleanup process following a disaster. The wide range of hazards range from downed power lines and contaminated waters to hidden molds and toxins.
Disasters are magnified by their consequences on health and health services, so the Center for Disease Control (CDC) serves as an important resource through its Health Studies Branch. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published cleanup tips specifically for hazards during natural disaster recoveries.
If you encounter hazardous material spills or discharges, call the National Response Center, and contact the National Pesticide Center if applicable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines reporting for spills and environmental violations.
Visit FEMA to find emergency management agencies in your state.
You can also receive local business counseling to determine the best way to prepare for emergencies and the next step when disaster strikes.