Emergency Preparedness for Businesses

Are you ready?

Here are some sobering stats:

  • 80% of companies having an extended disaster are out of business within five years.
  • 50% of companies having a disaster without a plan go out of business within two years.
  • 29% of companies with a major disaster close within two years; 43 percent never reopen.

Whether your business is large or small and has 1 or 1000 employees, the basics of business preparedness and continuity still apply. The Los Alamos County Office of Emergency Management and our Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) would like Los Alamos businesses to be aware of the need to plan for both disaster recovery and business continuity.

  • Disaster Recovery is the immediate and temporary restoration of computing and network operations after a natural or man-made disaster, within defined timeframes.
  • Business Continuity is the ability to maintain the constant availability of processes and information across the business enterprise. Depending on the incident itself, it is how your business stays in or gets back to business.

Get ready now.

Probably the easiest way to get your business on the path to readiness is to visit www.ready.gov and click on the “Ready Business” link there. From there you will find information and downloads that address these important issues: staying in business, protecting your investment, protecting your employees, determining whether to evacuate or shelter-in-place, emergency plans, business continuity of operations planning (COOP), and much more.

Other useful resources to help you get ready.

  • For up-to-date resources on business continuity information, check out the independent website called Continuity Central at www.continuitycentral.com 
  • The Institute for Business & Home Safety has information on protecting property from various natural disaster www.ibhs.org.
  • The 9-11 Commission’s final report recommended that NFPA 1600, Disaster/ Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, be set as the national preparedness standard. NFPA 1600 isn’t a handbook or “how-to” guide with instructions on building a comprehensive program. Instead, it outlines the management and elements that businesses and other organizations should use to develop a program for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. NFPA 1600 requires assessment of all hazards that might impact people, property, operations, and the environment. A business impact analysis should quantify the impact a disaster will have on the organization's mission, as well as direct and indirect financial consequences. It enables an organization to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of mitigation efforts and determine how much to invest in preparedness, response, and recovery plans. Additional information is here: www.nfpa.org.
  • The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has an emergency preparedness and response site that includes information on OSHA standards for personal protective equipment, general worksite safety, an “evacuation planning matrix”, safety guides, emergency action plans, and more.


Pandemics cause major economic losses due to absenteeism. Up to 30% of the workforce will either miss work due to sickness or stay home due to fear. The economic impact of H5N1 will be felt around the world. The impact will initially appear in two primary aspects of business: Availability of the workforce, and impact in and on the market place. This is different than business or emergency plans that largely assume destruction of physical infrastructure due to natural or human-caused disaster. How will business and governments keep operating with 30% of their workforce unavailable over the course of months or even several years? http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/