Disaster Recovery Planning Heads Report Partnership to Help Businesses Prevent Loss

October 12, 2004

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the Global Partnership for Preparedness (GPP) have announced a partnership to pilot test a new disaster planning toolkit at the launch of the Global Partnership for Preparedness’ Small Business Preparedness Campaign at the National Press Club.

GPP recently visited Charlotte County, Florida following Hurricane Charley and counseled nearly 200 local businesses in hurricane affected areas on developing business continuity plans.

“Of all businesses that close down following a disaster, at least 25 percent never reopen,” said Harvey Ryland, president and CEO of IBHS.

Approximately 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year. The failure of businesses to prepare for the consequences of business interruption or facility damage ensures an increased vulnerability not only for the local economy where individual businesses operate, but collectively for the national economy as a whole.

“The goal of the GPP and IBHS partnership is to help businesses plan for and take control of the possible impacts a major business interruption can create,” said Ryland. “By integrating protection from disasters into a company’s risk reduction measures, owners will safeguard their investment for their families, their employees, their customers, their communities, and even for their country.”

More than 16,000 pro bono hours of certified, businesses continuity counseling is expected to be provided to small businesses that otherwise could not afford, or that do not have the resources, knowledge or expertise, to put the plans in place. Certified business continuity planners from the Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas (CPAC) are providing their services in a pilot program to be kicked of in North Carolina. A similar pilot program is planned for Los Angeles.

“CPAC is excited about partnering with the Global Partnership for Preparedness Small Business Preparedness Campaign,” said David Shimberg, a certified planner and Chair of the Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas (CPAC). “Helping develop and deliver business continuity plan training and providing materials and resources to small businesses at little or no cost is a great way to help strengthen businesses, preparing them to survive after disaster strikes. A disaster is not necessarily a major storm or earthquake, but may be as mundane as a broken water pipe on the floor above a business location, or a fire from an appliance left turned on next door. A business must plan to survive any event that interrupts their day to day activities.”

“Working together as partners, GPP, IBHS and CPAC are encouraging small businesses, the economic base of most communities, to take proactive steps to protect themselves, their employees, communities, and customers,” said Brett Woodworth, chairman of the Global Partnership for Preparedness. “The failure of businesses to practice business continuity planning ensures increased vulnerability of the national economy. Working together with reputable organizations like IBHS and CPAC, we will effectively increase America’s ability to keep functioning after disaster strikes.”

Open for Business, a new IBHS small business owners disaster planning toolkit will be pilot tested in Charlotte and Los Angeles. This tool is designed to help small businesses plan for and reduce the impact of natural disasters and to help keep their doors open after any kind of disaster hits. The toolkit helps:

* Identify the natural hazards a business may face;
* Protect business’ employees;
* Protect buildings and contents;
* Help a business resume essential business operations.

Open for Business provides detail on protecting building and building contents from the impacts of power outages, earthquakes, windstorms, hailstorms, flood, freezing and bursting pipes, or wildfires. It provides a checklist of costs of various protection measures, as well as additional resources to learn about disaster safety.

It also contains some worksheets to list key creditors, customers, and suppliers, as well as a disaster supply checklist, an emergency contact list, and computer hardware, software and peripheral inventory sheets. Keeping up-to-date records can reportedly make the difference between survival and remaining viable, and help businesses recover from a disaster as soon as possible.

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