Preparedness Planning for Your Business

Disasters and emergencies present unique and serious challenges for business owners. Fires, floods, winter storms, public health crises, earthquakes, and other emergencies can lead to interrupted business operations. What may seem like a temporary interruption can lead to permanent closure.

Statistics on the number of businesses that do not reopen after a disaster vary widely. One statistic attributed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claims that about 25% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. The Internal Revenue Service has said that 40-60% of businesses without an emergency plan in place will not reopen after a disaster. Other government agencies and business groups have shared different but alarming statistics about business closures after a disaster. What is certain is that while emergencies of all varieties pose serious risks to businesses, there are concrete steps that business owners can take to be make their businesses resilient. 

Business Emergency Action Plan

An emergency action plan can help your business to be better prepared for a disaster, to more readily withstand the event, and to recover quickly. In turn, your business’ resilience can help your community to recover faster, as well. How well your business endures and recovers from an emergency depends on your planning now.

The City worked with the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce to develop a Business Emergency Action Plan. This publication contains the information and resources that you will need to create your business emergency action plan. The information in this document will cover what you will need to consider in your planning and provide resources to help you plan. 

Five Steps in Developing a Preparedness Program

How quickly your company can get back to business after a fire, flood, a pandemic flu or other emergency often depends on emergency planning done today.Putting a plan in motion will improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.

The five steps in developing a preparedness program are:

Program Management

  • Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
  • Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program


  • Gather information about hazards and assess risks
  • Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
  • Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks

Implementation - Write a preparedness plan addressing:

  • Resource management
  • Emergency response
  • Crisis communications
  • Business continuity
  • Information technology
  • Employee assistance
  • Incident management
  • Training

Testing and Exercises

  • Test and evaluate your plan
  • Define different types of exercises
  • Learn how to conduct exercises
  • Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan

Program Improvement

  • Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
  • Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
  • Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements


Business Continuity Toolkits

In addition to, other great tools for guidance to all-hazards business preparedness and continuity include:

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