Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses: Top 10 Things You Can Do for Under $100
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Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses: Top 10 Things You Can Do for Under $100

California is Earthquake Country
In 1983, the Coalinga Earthquake permanently closed down one quarter of the downtown businesses.  During the Loma Prieta Earthquake, property damage was estimated at $5 billion.  Although there were fewer cases or total structural collapse in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, damages that occurred were primarily due to overturned filing cabinets, sliding equipment, moving contents and other nonstructural items. 

A study by the California Office of Emergency Services, Earthquake Program revealed that:

  • The average company will lose 2-3% of its gross sales within 8 days of a sustained computer outage; 
  • The average company that experiences a computer outage lasting longer than 10 days will never fully recover; 
  • Fifty percent of the companies that experience a computer outage lasting longer than 10 days will be out of businesses within five years.

There are several things you can do for little or no cost to decrease your chance of loss in the next earthquake:

  1. Back up computer files.  Store back-up files at multiple locations.
  2. Secure computers and other electronic equipment. 
  3. Install drawer latches (child-proof latches).
  4. Bolt/ strap/ secure file cabinets and bookcases. 
  5. Brace or anchor shelves and furniture.
  6. Use museum wax to anchor pottery, porcelain, ceramics, glassware, etc.
  7. Get emergency supplies for each person in the office.
  8. Fasten pictures/ mirrors/ wall mounts. 
  9. Install smoke detectors.
  10. Appoint a safety officer to evaluate your physical plant for hazards.

Other things that you can do include assisting employees in preparing their own homes and families, so that they can report to work when disaster strikes.  Collaborate with neighboring store owners in preparing for a disaster, so that you can assist each other if disaster strikes.  Make plans for your own family, to ensure their safety if you are away.

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