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Small Business Digest


Some Helpful Hints As Nation Celebrates Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month is a nationwide coordinated effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.   

Emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks, can paralyze business operations.  Small- and medium-sized businesses in particular are most vulnerable to these events.  Having an emergency plan can help protect a company and maximize its potential to survive and recover after an incident.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Advertising Council launched the Ready Business Campaign in September 2004.  This extension of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, focuses specifically on business preparedness.  The goal of Ready Business is to raise the small business community’s awareness of the need for emergency planning and motivate businesses to take action.  The campaign encourages business owners and managers to: plan to stay in business; talk to their employees; and protect their investment.

Ready Business was developed by Homeland Security and launched in partnership with U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Society of Human Resource Management, The Business Roundtable, The 9/11 Public Discourse Project, ASIS International, Business Executives for National Security, International Safety Equipment Association, International Security Management Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A national survey of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees conducted by The Ad Council in December 2006 found that only 47 percent said that their company had an emergency plan in place in the event of a disaster and that many still see time, workforce and money constraints prohibiting them from developing a business continuity plan.  The study also indicated that businesses perceive fire, cyber attacks, natural disasters and terrorism as key threats.  In addition it showed that businesses are more concerned about weather emergencies that are common in their geographic area, such as hurricanes in the Southeast and earthquakes in the West.

The Ready Business campaign identifies 3 steps that are crucial for small- and medium-sized businesses to follow:

• Plan to Stay in Business - Business continuity planning must account for all hazards (both man-made and natural disasters). Companies should plan in advance to manage any emergency situation. Assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of employees and the business's recovery.  This section of the campaign includes Be Informed, Continuity Planning, Emergency Planning, Emergency Supplies, Deciding to Stay or Go, Fire Safety, Medical Emergencies, and the Influenza Pandemic.

• Talk to Employees – Communication is a very important step in the process.  This section includes Involve Co-Workers, Practice the Plan, Promote Preparedness, Crisis Communication Plan, and Employee Health.

• Protect the Investment - In addition to emergency planning, there are steps you can take to both safeguard your company and secure your physical assets.  This section includes Insurance Coverage, Utility Disruptions, Facilities/Buildings & Plants, Equipment, Building Air Protection, and Cyber Security.

For a more complete overview of these steps, Click here:

The campaign’s messages are delivered through: television, radio, print, outdoor and Internet public service advertisements (PSAs); toll-free phone lines 1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO; and partnerships with a wide variety of public and private sector organizations.  

To download business materials and find out more information about how to create a business plan, visit

"IT'S A DISASTER! ...and what are YOU gonna do about it?" helps businesses and families prepare for and respond to most types of emergencies and disasters. 

The book includes actions to take to prepare for fires, floods, hurricanes, nuclear incidents, Terrorism, avian flu, CPR, West Nile, Business Continuity and School Safety.

Plus a new 13-page Appendix called "More About Nukes (You CAN Survive...)" explains small nuclear devices in general and has suggestions on what people can do to prepare for the unthinkable.

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