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FEMA Mitigation Advice

Basic but sound advice from FEMA in a small piece published some years ago:

Mitigation Information for Businesses

Would you know what to do if an earthquake, flood, or hurricane hit you tomorro? Could your business survive? The resulting damage often goes beyond that of structure and contents. It means rebuilding costs, pressure on credit lines, loss of savings, out-of-work employees, all of which could be deadly to the future of your business. Your business operation can be interrupted by direct damages to your business location and equipment, or by failure of critical local infrastructures like electrical power, water supply and road systems.

Over 630 businesses were affected in the Santa Cruz area by the 1989 Loma Prieta, California earthquake. Over fifteen of these businesses never re-opened. Over two hundreds and fifty business in Chesterfield, Missouri where affected by the Midwest Floods of 1993. Only 65 of the businesses had re-opened a year after the flood and the Chamber of Commerce estimates that only 65 percent of the businesses will ever reopen.

Mitigation is a proven, cost-effective option, for businesses to reduce their expose to damages. For example, in a flood prone area, businesses can elevate machinery and utility systems to reduce the likelihood of water damage during a flood. In an earthquake prone area, mitigation can be as simple as securing desktop equipment, like personal computers or cash registers, with heavy duty velcro or straps to prevent them from falling to the floor. In a hurricane prone area, the installation of storm shutters over all exposed windows. Debris can break windows, allowing high winds inside your business which can increase the level of damages.

Businesses can take these first steps to implement mitigation measures:

  1. Identify the potential risks which could affect your business.

  2. Purchase applicable insurance. Note that standard insurance does not include earthquake or flood insurance. Contact your businesses insurance agent to ensure your business is covered for all risks.

  3. Contact your State or local emergency management office or building official, or a FEMA Regional office for more information on protecting your business through mitigation.

  4. Encourage local community mitigation efforts that reduce the risk to critical local infrastructures like electricity, water, and roads that are necessary for the continued operation of your business.

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