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They need the business community to be involved in planning for and responding to emergencies. ISSUES The public sector will make emergency management decisions that will have a direct consequence on local businesses - In the event of a disaster, emergency management plans, prepared far in advance of a major catastrophe, will be put into action.
Those plans are likely to discuss issues such as business re-entry, access to property, etc. Changes to or awareness of these emergency response plans should occur before a disaster impacts the community. Most small businesses lack a business continuity plan -Many small business owners do not think their business will be impacted by a natural disaster.
Yet, the National Federal of Independent Businesses NFIB had the the Gallup Organization poll small-business owners on disaster impacts to their business operations inand found that at least 30 percent of the surveyed businesses had been closed 24 hours or longer at least once within the last three years.
Many small businesses lack a plan which helps them think through the issues that can disrupt their business, plan steps to limit the effects from identified potential hazards, and identify critical processes or operations to remain open after disaster impact.
Many small businesses fail to back-up important documents such as legal information, key customer contacts, financial records, etc.
The following are practical suggestions to effectively engage local businesses representatives in activities that not only will protect their business assets but also expedite the recovery of the local economy in the event of a major catastrophe. Build an Economic Recovery Response Team Pre-disaster planning becomes a critical element in the success of long-term economic and community recovery.
A well-structured economic recovery team should be established before a disaster hits to specifically address the major post-disaster economic recovery issues that a community may face. This is necessary since most emergency management plans overlook the economic recovery piece as they are primarily concerned with health and public safety issues.
This team can review emergency plans from the lens of the private sector, discuss post-disaster issues and redevelopment priorities, and take steps to pursue mitigation strategies. Identify who from the community should participate A mix of strategic representatives should be invited to participate in the economic recovery team.
Otherwise decision-making on economic recovery topics is left to non-business, and potentially inexperienced, individuals. Even a well-intentioned public official may not understand the scope of economic impacts with the seemingly simple decision of closing a few streets.
That one decision can slow recovery, force businesses to relocate or close, and drive residents and customers away — thereby affecting the available workforce and economy.
Trust is built as these stakeholders cooperate in the pre-planning phase so that these relationships can be relied on when the disaster strikes, and there is need for an expedited decision making process.
The team should select the appropriate leader who has an articulated position of authority to provide proper support to the team; someone who understands the needs of the private sector and can facilitate participation from all representatives.
His or her role will be to establish agendas, facilitate discussion and information exchange within the team, delegate tasks and follow-up, and evaluate group objectives and outcomes.
The review should consider the impacts to the business community and the local economy if the plan is implemented after a disaster. These plans will also identify a potential partner or strategic player in the planning process.
If possible, adjustments should be made to the plan so that it accommodates business interests.
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Discuss the roles and responsibilities for EDOs and Chambers The role of EDOs and chambers of commerce will vary based on the economic development structure of your community. Each EDO and chamber has their own network of community stakeholders that should be engaged for information dissemination purposes.
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Hold meetings to discuss post-disaster economic recovery strategies Find the appropriate location and begin working on a bi-monthly or quarterly bases to identify possible economic redevelopment and recovery strategies in the event of a disaster.
IEDC has developed a series of recommendations for conducting such a planning effort for economic preparedness. Careful thought should be given to a convenient time, location, and format of the event as well as appropriate promotional efforts so the maximum number of small business owners will participate.
Provide Training on Business Continuity Planning to Local Businesses Businesses, both large and small, need to regularly execute a comprehensive situational assessment of what organizational processes and procedures will be affected by a disaster. This training should consider the fact that small business owners have limited time to engage in such activities.
These discounts provides a financial incentive for local business to engage in disaster preparedness activities business continuity planning, employee training, mitigation, data back-up, etc.
The training should address whether businesses can afford to take out insurance in the current recessionary environment.Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Business Insurance, Life & Health Insurance in Chattanooga, Ooltewah, Ringgold, Fort Oglethorpe, Dayton and Soddy.
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The basic idea behind this programme is to organize the poor into SHG (Self Help Groups) groups and make them capable for self-employment.
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