Reducing Risk through Mitigation

Would you know what to do if an earthquake, flood, or hurricane hit tomorrow, and could your business survive?

The resulting damage often goes beyond that of structure and contents. It means rebuilding costs, pressure on credit lines, loss of savings, out-of-work employees, all of which could be deadly to the future of your business. Your business operation can be interrupted by direct damages to your business location and equipment, or by failure of critical local infrastructures like electrical power, water supply and road systems.

Mitigation is a proven, cost-effective option, for businesses to reduce their exposure to damages. For example, in a flood prone area, businesses can elevate machinery and utility systems to reduce the likelihood of water damage during a flood. In an earthquake prone area, mitigation can be as simple as securing desktop equipment, like personal computers or cash registers, with heavy duty velcro or straps to prevent them from falling to the floor. In a hurricane prone area, the installation of storm shutters over all exposed windows is an effective mitigation measure. Debris can break windows, allowing high winds inside your business, which can increase the level of damages.

Businesses can take these first steps to implement mitigation measures:

  1. Identify the potential risks, which could affect your business.
  2. Purchase applicable insurance. Standard insurance does not include earthquake or flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent to ensure your business is covered for all risks.
  3. Contact your state or local emergency management office or building official, or a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional office for more information on protecting your business through mitigation.
  4. Encourage local community mitigation efforts that reduce the risk to critical local infrastructures like electricity, water, and roads that are necessary for the continued operation of your business.

How can I learn more?

For more information on how to protect your business from disaster go to the Mitigation Division (http://www.fema.gov/about/divisions/mitigation.shtm). You can also contact your local building and planning official, emergency manager, or floodplain manager. You can also contact the FEMA Regional Office nearest you:

FEMA Regional Office
536 South Clark Street, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 408-5500