Business Preparedness Summit kicks off statewide program and Web site
The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security recently launched the Protect Your Business campaign and a Web site, www.ProtectYourBusiness.ky.gov, aimed at helping Kentucky’s small to medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets for an emergency. This extension of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s successful Avoid the Panic Button: Protect Your Family campaign focuses specifically on business preparedness.
The goals of Protect Your Business are to raise the business community’s awareness of the need for emergency planning and to motivate businesses to take action. The campaign encourages business owners and managers to: plan to stay in business, talk to their employees and protect their investment.
“Every business should have an emergency plan, because preparing makes good business sense,” said (Ret) Maj. Alecia Webb-Edgington, director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. “At ProtectYourBusiness.ky.gov, businesses can find emergency preparedness information that can save lives, company assets and their business.”
The campaign began in September at a Somerset kick-off event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Preparedness George Foresman, Congressman Hal Rogers, Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s Chief of Staff Stan Cave and officials with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
The Business Preparedness Summit, which was hosted in partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, is the first of six such summits scheduled throughout Kentucky this fall. Other business preparedness events will be held in Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky, Bowling Green and Paducah.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent more than 99 percent of all employers, provide approximately 75 percent of the net new jobs added to the economy and represent 97 percent of all U.S. exporters.
Although most businesses agree that emergency preparedness is important, too few are taking the necessary steps to prepare. According to an October 2005 survey of small businesses conducted by The Ad Council, 92 percent of respondents said that it is very or somewhat important for businesses to take steps to prepare for a catastrophic disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane or terrorist attack. Eight-eight percent agreed that having a business continuity plan would make good sense for their company. However, only 39 percent said that their company has an emergency plan in place and only 59 percent assessed their own business as prepared in the event of a catastrophic disaster.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, after a major disaster strikes, 40 percent of small businesses never reopen.
Protect Your Business provides materials that instruct businesses with practical steps and easy-to-use templates that include information on creating an evacuation plan, fire safety, including employees throughout the planning process, considering people with special needs and protecting business investments by securing facilities and equipment and reviewing insurance coverage. For more information, please visit the Protect Your Business Web site at www.ProtectYourBusiness.ky.gov.
The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security has been charged by Gov. Fletcher to lead the commonwealth's coordination and collaboration efforts with public and private preparedness partners to ensure Kentucky is ready and prepared. For more information about homeland security in Kentucky, please visit www.homelandsecurity.ky.gov.