Small Businesses Ready For Disasters

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Did you ever stop to think what would happen if a disaster struck while you were at work?

Many larger companies have emergency evacuation plans in place, but what about small business owners? Small businesses make up about 85-percent of all area companies, so how do they prepare themselves in the case of a natural disaster?

The U.S. Small Business Administration says that only 39-percent of all small businesses actually have a plan should something happen. WBKO spoke with two local business owners about how they've gotten prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Party One Superstore is a place full of fun, filled with costumes, toys and games. However, Store owner Mike Fuqua said his place is ready should a natural disaster strike. The store has an extensive preparedness plan, which includes emergency radios and televisions.

“If we see there's a storm coming up and it’s weather-related, we usually have a team member at each store that will take charge of the situation,” Fuqua said.

His stores also have a designated "safe room" complete with firewalls, flashlights and a restroom for those in the store.

“We encourage the customers to stay inside the store but if they want to leave we can't hold them beyond their own point of leaving,” Fuqua explained.

Fuqua said his employees go through emergency training monthly with real life situations to better prepare them.

While places like Party One have an extensive preparedness plan, smaller businesses like 440 Main have a smaller, more informal plan to keep their employees and customers safe.

“If there's a tornado, what we've instructed our employees to do because we have a lot of windows are to evacuate to the cellar. We have a basement below that’s about 4,000 square feet,” 440 Manager Tom Holmes said.

Holmes said it’s very important that everyone in his restaurant is aware of what to do in case something bad happens.

“Help people out-get out the doors and everything. We've talked about it. Everybody knows where everything is. Everyone knows how to get out of the building. Everyone knows where to evacuate,” Holmes said.

Fuqua agrees that preparation is the key.

“If you don't have a plan like this, then what you end up with is chaos. This will eliminate that,” Fuqua assured.

To learn how the U.S. Small Business Administration says you can protect your small business, just click here.


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