Prepare for emergencies

Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. You’ll want to take the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and know where to get aid if disaster strikes.

Emergency preparedness

An estimated 25 percent of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying the risks relevant to your location, both natural and man-made. Then, keep your plan of action updated.

Preserve your equipment and business records by referencing this IRS guide on protecting your information before an emergency strikes. The Federal

Specific disaster checklists and tips

Focus on disasters that pose a realistic risk to your small business. Consult the following resources to lessen the financial impact of disasters and reopen your business quickly.

Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers an emergency preparedness checklist and toolkit.

Get financial assistance after a disaster

When a disaster hits your small business, first contact FEMA to apply for financial assistance. They can provide money for housing along with other personal expenses including food, clothing and medicine.

The SBA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide low-interest loans for damaged and destroyed assets in a declared disaster. These include repair and replacement costs for real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory, and business assets.

Disaster assistance loans

Other sources of disaster aid

Disaster unemployment assistance helps individual employees while they’re unemployed due to a disaster, and flood recovery assistance can help workers displaced by flooding.

Businesses in federally declared disaster areas could qualify for special tax provisions for financial recovery. The Farm Service Agency also provides a disaster assistance guide for farmers and ranchers after natural disasters.

Disaster cleanup

Take precautions to avoid injury or illness occurring in the cleanup process following a disaster. The wide range of hazards range from downed power lines and contaminated waters to hidden molds and toxins.

Disasters are magnified by their consequences on health and health services, so the Center for Disease Control (CDC) serves as an important resource through its Health Studies Branch. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published cleanup tips specifically for hazards during natural disaster recoveries.

If you encounter hazardous material spills or discharges, call the National Response Center, and contact the National Pesticide Center if applicable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines reporting for spills and environmental violations.

More assistance

Visit FEMA to find emergency management agencies in your state.

For more emergency preparedness advice, visit preparemybusiness.org or contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

You can also receive local business counseling to determine the best way to prepare for emergencies and the next step when disaster strikes.