How Small Business Owners Can Prepare for Floods

Helping you keep your doors open

Planning and preparing can help small business owners keep their doors open after a flood happens. These links are the top three most useful resources:

1. The FEMA Ready Business Program offers businesses step-by-step guides on how to identify risks and build preparedness and mitigation plans. The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit (Spanish version), Ready Business Inland Flooding Toolkit (Spanish version), and Ready Business Power Outage Toolkit (Spanish version) help businesses protect their employees and customers.

2. America’s PrepareAthon! Campaign’s Prepare Your Organization for a Hurricane Playbook provides tools and practice plans for owners to use when preparing their businesses for a hurricane.

3. The Corporate Citizenship Center’s Community Resilience and Disaster Response program includes resources such as the Disaster Help Desk for Business, Employee Assistance Funds, and Resilience in a Box.

Develop an Emergency Management Program


A good emergency management program can help a small business recover quickly. An emergency management program protects a business’ employees and stabilizes the emergency. These links are useful resources for tips on how to develop an emergency management program:

    • The EZ-PREP guide helps small businesses prepare for a severe weather emergency using an emergency preparedness and response plan. The PDF can be found here.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan


A business continuity program allows for important business activities to continue when faced with a crisis. Emergency management programs (also known as emergency preparedness, emergency response, and disaster recovery) and business continuity programs can be paired together. Employees and/or owners can meet and develop, edit, and update plans that are about common areas of interest [3].

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a way to recognize and manage risks (hurricanes, floods, power outages) that could potentially interrupt a business’ ability to produce services. BCM gives businesses the confidence they need to confront and tackle disasters. It reduces the impact of risks and helps a business recover with less interruption. The framework for BCM is divided into 9 phases:

BCM program initiation – A program charter/plan outlining projects and how to put these projects into action. Projects support the continuity of business operations, such as checking in with your employees, identifying important pieces of equipment, and connecting with your business’ customers, suppliers, and vendors.

BCM project initiation – Putting projects into action and checking whether these projects are promoting the continuity of business operations.

Risk analysis – Identifying naturally-occurring or man-made risks that pose a threat to your business and gauging the financial impact of these risks, such as lost income and/or sales.

Choosing risk mitigation strategies – Identifying a way to manage these risks, such as insurance, putting aside contingency funds, or disaster recovery plans.

Monitoring and control – Making sure the program charter/plan is being done correctly.

Implementation – Making improvements to the program charter/plan so it is evolving with your business needs.

Testing – Measuring how well risk mitigation strategies are doing.

Education and training – Informing your employees about the advantages and goals of the program charter/plan.

Review – Making sure the program charter/plan is adapting to changes in your business, such as newly incorporated technologies, newly hired staff, and new products/services [4].

These links are useful resources for tips on how to develop a business continuity plan:


[3] Halsne J. Integrating business continuity, emergency preparedness and emergency response: How these seemingly different disciplines can come together to make a comprehensive integrated programme. Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning. 2014;8(14):307-316.

[4] Gibb F, Buchanan S. A framework for business continuity management. International Journal of Information Management. 2006;26:128-141. doi: 10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2005.11.008


Develop an Emergency Communications Plan


It is important for small businesses to be able to deliver messages to their customers, employees, and neighbors. For example, business owners may communicate with residents in their communities via email, a website, news media, or social media. These links are useful resources for tips on how to develop an emergency communications plan:


    • Tips on how to develop an emergency response plan, business continuity plan, and emergency communication plan can be found here. This comprehensive guide can be used with the Business Resiliency Plan workbook and the Emergency Procedures workbook found here. The “Keeping the Lights On” Small Business Resiliency Webinar can be found here.

Develop an Information Technology (IT) Recovery Plan


Small businesses should know what to do if and when their information technology stops working. This link is a useful resource for tips on how to develop an IT recovery plan:


Planning and Preparing as a Small Rural Business


Small businesses in rural communities need to be prepared for a disaster. These links are useful resources specific for rural communities:


Plan and Protect Against Floods

Respond to Floods

Recover After Floods

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