Preliminary Findings


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Business Survival Survey

A little over a week ago we put out a short survey. Its purpose was simple. Knowing that survival statistics are bad for businesses with no emergency plan, we wanted to . . .

Alert readers to potential weaknesses at THEIR places of business.

A first round of answers has come in, and they have encouraged us to widen the reach of the survey before coming up with a final report.

In the meanwhile, though, we want to share some preliminary findings because they are compelling. (We’re not sharing everything in detail because we don’t want any responders to be able to identify themselves in the answers!)

Here are three questions whose answers were particularly dramatic.

“Do we have a plan?”

Around 25% of our readers say their company has no plan – a lot better than averages that you’ll see below. More unsettling, though, was the 30% of our readers who admitted that THEY DON’T KNOW IF THERE’S A PLAN OR NOT!

Clearly, these businesses are the most vulnerable to being shut down by a disaster — and never re-opening. Those statistics are well established:

  • Nationwide’s 2016 poll of 300 small businesses found that most small-business owners (68 percent) still don’t have a written disaster recovery plan, That’s better than the 75% from two years earlier, but still shockingly high!
  • And the long-standing statistics from FEMA remain the same: 40% of small businesses without plans that are forced to close due to a disaster – never reopen!

Of course, just having a plan doesn’t guarantee you’ll get through unscathed. But it certainly will improve your chances of at least getting through alive!

Action item: If your business has no continuity plan, see if you can uncover the reasons why not. (Tread delicately.)

“Do we know what to do in an emergency?”

As you can imagine, employees at companies with no plan, or where the plan hasn’t been practiced, WILL NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY.

In our small survey, over 70% of the companies leave people totally to their own devices when it comes to responding to an emergency!

If your company falls into this category, you personally may have some idea of what you’d do first, and what others should be doing. (I feel confident in saying this because you’ve been thinking and reading about emergency preparedness for a while, via Emergency Plan Guide.)

But what about the rest of the people? Would they be able to help, or would they hinder? Would you be able to direct any activity? What about new hires, or temporary employees? What about visitors?

You can imagine the chaos – and the possibility of further danger or damage!

“Does the business have a plan for communicating with our families?”

So far, this has been the piece of the plan that most businesses overlook altogether. In our survey, nearly 90% of people said there was NO PLAN FOR CONTACTING FAMILIES.

Over the years at Emergency Plan Guide we’ve reported about what happens when employees are separated from their families. In Katrina, police officers abandoned their posts. In one shocking incident in Japan, 128 elderly people were abandoned by medical staff at a hospital. Just recently in Florida, four city employees decided to stay at home from work to be with their families and pets – and they were fired!

And we’ve seen what’s been happening in Puerto Rico over the past 10 days, when families have been totally cut off.

Whether you are required or expected stay at work may be written into your contract. You can’t be forced to stay, of course, but your employer is free to fire you if you don’t follow that contract.

In any case, being able to let your family know you’re O.K., and knowing THEY are O.K., would allow you to make a better decision about your next step. A good disaster plan includes preparations for facilitating these emergency communications for employees.

What’s next?

Thanks to our friends who took the survey, we have already been encouraged to follow up on some specific threads, with more Advisories. We have a book in the planning stages, too. It will be specifically for small businesses.

In the meanwhile, we need more data to make our survey more reliable.

We’ll be reaching out to more people to get more data, and you can help!  First, if you didn’t take the survey last week, feel free to take it now! (Statistics from SurveyMonkey showed that sure enough, the average time to finish the survey was less than 2 minutes!) Here’s the direct link to the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NJW29HR

Second, forward this message to people you care about! Encourage them to participate in the survey and to sign up to get ongoing Advisories, like you do.

(You will see the “ad” for the survey on the home page: http://EmergencyPlanGuide.org )

For all of us, the best time to think about responding to a disaster is BEFORE it happens.

Thanks – and stay tuned for more!

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

 

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