Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Following widespread business interest in earthquake damage prevention workshops, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) has announced the creation of an online version of the QuakeSmart Community Resilience Program for Small Businesses and Organizations. During 2014, more than 125 companies participated in the in-person program, and the online offering will expand access even further.
FLASH, FEMA, and Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) developed the program that includes comprehensive earthquake vulnerability assessments and nonstructural and building retrofit information to protect lives and to help avoid post-earthquake business interruption.
The three-step resilience program focuses on understanding and identifying risk, developing a comprehensive plan, and enacting that plan. Program steps begin with simple and affordable activities, like strapping or using Velcro® to secure monitors/laptops to desks, securing file cabinets to the wall, and reinforcing ceiling fans and lights with safety cables. Next, more comprehensive structural retrofits are evaluated.
“QuakeSmart businesses protect the safety of customers and employees, preserve financial security, and enhance company survivability in the event of an earthquake,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “We are pleased to share this essential information online as nearly every community faces some level of earthquake risk. Helping businesses identify the right protective actions is critical to community resilience as recovery rests on a foundation of its local companies—small, medium, and large.”
According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses will not reopen post-disaster and, on average, small businesses that close after a disaster will lose $3,000 per day. Medium-sized businesses lose an even greater average amount at $23,000 per day, and 75% of businesses without continuity planning will fail within three years post-disaster.
Participating businesses can join a “QuakeSmart Business” list on the QuakeSmart website after completing the program retrofits. They will also receive a recognition package with a certificate, signage, and electronic website badge to announce to customers/clients, employees, and partners that they are QuakeSmart.