According to a recent survey from FedEx Corp and the American Red Cross, slightly more than half of small businesses have not practiced evacuations or other emergency drills. Nearly half haven’t even discussed employee roles in the event of some type of crisis or disaster.
Disasters could come in the form of an area-wide crisis like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, or they could be localized, as in the event of a fire, accident or theft that only affects one business.
40 percent of small businesses do not believe they could recover within 6 months if their business was completely destroyed while 29 percent of those surveyed, or less than a third, think they are prepared if a disaster disrupts their business for just one month.
Many small businesses would suffer even if a disaster didn’t affect the business itself. Employees who suffer personal losses, as in the case of a tornado or other disaster, might be unable to return to a normal work schedule for some time. Employers need to have disaster plans for their businesses, but they also should take steps to encourage employees to create disaster preparedness plans for their homes and families.
The survey found that 77 percent of small businesses would be more likely to prepare for disaster if they had access to educational materials.
On the one year anniversary of the Joplin, Missouri tornado, FedEx and The Red Cross have teamed up to host a virtual roundtable to share their expertise on preparedness for small businesses. On May 22, the roundtable will feature experts from FedEx, The Red Cross, and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and will be hosted online on the FedEx Facebook page.
After one year in Joplin, 161 lives lost and 545 businesses destroyed or severely damaged, there are 116 businesses that have still not reopened.