MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Despite the devastation and lasting effects caused by Superstorm Sandy and other disasters over the past year, 70 percent of small businesses don't consider themselves at risk for experiencing a similar disaster in the future, according to a new survey from FedEx Corp. FDX +2.88% and the American Red Cross.
Fewer than 10 percent of small businesses surveyed report taking any disaster preparedness actions based on the effects of Sandy. Even those small businesses which have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy or another disaster (13 percent were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, eight percent impacted by other local/regional disasters), half feel it's unlikely they will be affected again in the next five years.
This lack of concern by many small businesses has led FedEx and the American Red Cross to take action to help boost preparedness levels across the country.
"Preparedness is a lot like working out and eating healthy--people know they should do it, but it's not always at the top of the list," says Tom Heneghan, manager of preparedness for the American Red Cross. "Developing an emergency preparedness plan is one of the most important strategic decisions a small business owner will make."
While most small businesses aren't worried about the next disaster, 51 percent do have a plan in place to continue providing services to customers if one does happen. Most of their plans center on technology and the fear of losing data, with 92 percent having data back-up and 81 percent having server recovery plans in place. But for the 49 percent of businesses that don't have any plan, one disaster could mean the end of their business.
"When small businesses are strong and growing, everyone benefits," said Shane O'Connor, program advisor, FedEx Global Citizenship. "A startling number of small businesses are unable to recover after a disaster, and anything we can do to prevent that is well worth the effort."
The Red Cross Ready Rating(TM) program helps businesses, schools and other organizations become prepared for disasters and other emergencies. Ready Rating is a free service, and members have access to one-of-a-kind tools, resources and information for evaluating and improving their ability to withstand disaster, maintain operations, and protect lives and property.
The Red Cross recommends several steps that all small business owners should do to prepare themselves and their employees for disasters:
1. Obtain necessary safety equipment - Budget for and purchase any safety equipment, first-aid kits, Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and shelter-in-place supplies that may be needed. Make sure employees know how to access and use these supplies.
2. Write a plan for responding to emergencies. Be sure to include:
-- A system for warning employees about emergencies and communicating with employees and local emergency officials during a disaster or emergency.
-- Considerations for the special needs of employees with disabilities and medical conditions.
-- Evacuation routes from your facility and an established location where employees should gather.
-- Provisions and a location for employees to shelter-in-place.
3. Develop a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) - This plan will help keep the business operating as it responds and recovers from the effects of a disaster or emergency situation.
-- Identify essential business functions and staff to carry out these functions.
-- Establish agreements and procedures with suppliers, vendors and other businesses critical to daily operations.
-- Create a plan for conducting business if the facility is not accessible.
-- Identify records and documents that must be readily accessible to perform essential functions and set up electronic backup systems so they can be safely stored and retrieved quickly.
For more tips and information, including a downloadable 'SMBe Prepared Playbook' created in conjunction with Joe Gibbs, NFL hall of fame coach and small business owner, visit http://www.readyrating.org/JoinNowFedEx.aspx.
Issues Answers Global Marketing Research conducted telephone surveys with 200 small businesses in February 2013 to understand small businesses perceived likelihood of being affected by a disaster or emergency and to gauge their current level of disaster preparedness, while also determining whether recent events have affected small businesses and/or prompted them to take additional steps towards disaster/emergency preparedness. Small businesses were defined as organizations with at least seven, but less than 100, employees.
FedEx Corp. FDX +2.88% provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $44 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross Ready Rating Program
The American Red Cross Ready Rating program is a free, self-guided program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Members complete a 123-point self-assessment of their level of preparedness and have access to tools, tips and best practices to help improve their level of preparedness. The 123 Assessment has been aligned with the federal government's Private Sector Preparedness standards (PS-Prep). For more information, please visit http://www.readyrating.org/JoinNowFedEx.aspx.