Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses

Is your business ready to face the unexpected?

For small business owners, there is always another challenge around the corner. But are you ready to deal with a major unplanned event, such as an earthquake, wildfire, or supply chain crisis?

Taking the time to plan ahead and knowing the actions that you need to take in case of an unexpected business interruption, sets you up to respond more effectively in the moment.

WEV has compiled a list of some of the common actions that could help mitigate the effect an unplanned interruption may have on your business. While every business has unique needs in times of crisis, these steps lay a great foundation of preparedness that you can build on.

Business & Financial Preparedness Steps

You can take these steps at any time to be more prepared for an emergency. If you haven’t already done so, start now!

  • Pay down debt; establish an emergency savings account.
  • Review your Commercial/Home Insurance Policy with a trusted broker.
  • Locate and copy key commercial and personal documents; keep copies off-site or in the cloud.
  • Maintain and back-up data and important contact information, including employees and key clients and vendors; keep backups off-site or in the cloud.
  • Take photos of commercial and personal property and assets.
  • Identify an alternate business location from which you can work.
  • Freeze your credit with main credit agencies.
  • Sign up with your energy provider(s), city, and county for emergency notifications (e.g. readysbc.org and readyventuracounty.org).
  • Learn about Public Safety Power Shut-offs (PSPS) and scheduled outages. In the event of extreme weather conditions, SCE and PGE may shut off power for up to 5 days. Visit Prepare For Power Down for more information.

Small Business Response During an Emergency

  • Check-in with your employees.
  • Contact your vendors and customers with a status update.
  • Update your website and recorded outgoing messages with a status update.
  • Visit Ready.gov for updates (readysbc.org and readyventuracounty.org).
  • Call 211 for Emergency Resource Assistance.
  • In the case of a local disaster, visit the local Disaster Assistance Center (DAC), and register with FEMA if there is damage to and/or loss of your business or personal property.
  • Document any damage; take photos.
  • File a claim with your insurer (don’t delay).
  • Volunteer in your community if you have the time and resources to do so.

Small Business Disaster Recovery Steps

Your actions after a disaster or business interruption may include the following:

  • Call 211 for Disaster Case Management and Recovery Resource Assistance.
  • Keep employees informed of available local resources.
  • Apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for immediate cash flow.
  • Identify and contact your local Women’s Business Center (WBC) or Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for advisory support and help with any emergency grant/loan opportunities.
  • Contact the IRS to learn how to account for disaster-related losses; request a filing extension.
  • Speak to a WBC Business Consultant for help pivoting your business and uncovering new opportunities.
  • Volunteer in your community if you have the time and resources to do so.

Strengthen Your Local Community

40% of small businesses affected by a natural disaster never reopen; it is critical that you take steps now to be more financially resilient and prepared for the unexpected. Small businesses are the heart of our local communities – your recovery directly helps the recovery of your community.

Stay prepared and stay strong!


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