Prepare for emergencies

Disasters can take many forms and the financial cost of rebuilding after a disaster can be overwhelming. If you’re prepared for emergencies, you’ll be in a better position to recover and continue operations should disaster strike.


Be prepared

Step 1: Assess your risk

Every business has unique vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Knowing which disasters are most likely to affect your business can help you to return to operations faster. A back-to-business self-assessment can help you to assess your risks for common hazards such as hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, or even cyberattacks.


Storefronts of three open businesses and one closed business.

Statistics say that 25% of businesses won't open again after a disaster.

Step 2: Create a plan

Your response plan is your roadmap to recovery, so it should be tailored to your business’s specific needs and operations.  It should address immediate priorities and be easy to access.  Checklists and online toolkits are effective resources to help you develop your plan. Consider the following:

Focus on disasters that pose a realistic risk to your small business. Consult the following resources to lessen the financial impact of disasters and reopen your business quickly.

Topic Resource Tips
Hurricanes Checklist Safety Tips
Tornadoes Checklist Safety Tips
Wildfires Checklist Safety Tips
Floods Checklist Safety Tips
Hail Checklist  
Cyber Security Plan Security Tips

Step 3: Execute your plan

Practice your plan with your staff so you’re ready when a disaster occurs.

Get financial assistance after a disaster

You may be eligible for a low-interest disaster recovery loan through the SBA for damaged and destroyed assets in a declared disaster. These include repair and replacement costs for real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory, and business assets. Check to see if one of these loans apply .

Submit your SBA disaster loan as soon as possible, then ask your SBA representative about increasing your physical damage loan for mitigation purposes.  There is no cost to apply, and you are under no obligation to accept a loan if approved.

Make your business resilient

A resilient business is one that can quickly and effectively address adversity. It is less disrupted by a disaster, can resume regular operations sooner, recover faster, and adjust for the future. SBA developed a Business Resilience Guide to help small businesses determine how to anticipate the impacts of a disaster on their operations in order to minimize disruption. For more information on building resilience, download the Business Resilience Guide.

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Mitigation assistance

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Last updated June 5, 2024