Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Be Ready for a Variety of Catastrophes. (EHS News)

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Be Ready for a Variety of Catastrophes. (EHS News)

Article excerpt

In the wake of Sept. 11, emergency preparedness has taken on a new urgency for U.S. business. Many companies, especially small businesses, are scrambling to ensure that they can survive a similar disaster.

A well-conceived emergency plan is crucial to every company's business strategy, according to experts at The Hartford Financial Services Group, an insurer of small businesses.

"Businesses at the World Trade Center that went through the 1993 bombing understood the importance of adequate planning for a catastrophe," said John Kauffman, director of loss control training for The Hartford. "As a result, many of the improvements that were made helped thousands of workers evacuate to safety before the towers collapsed."

At a recent seminar in Stamford, Conn., loss control experts from The Hartford presented a primer in emergency preparedness to small-business owners, many of whom had seen their businesses severely affected by the World Trade Center tragedy. Kauffman noted that, according to studies conducted in recent years by the Gartner Group, 60 percent of businesses are underprepared for disasters, and 40 percent of companies that experience a disaster go out of business within five years.

Key to effective emergency planning, Kauffman said, is to be prepared for any possibility, particularly natural disasters. "While concerns about future terrorist attacks understandably are foremost on people's minds, business owners still are more likely to face fire or a natural disaster such as a flood, a hurricane or an ice storm. …

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