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How Earthquakes Affect Businesses
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Earthquakes are far more common than most people realize. The ones we usually hear about are the major ones, those that topple buildings or cause giant tsunamis that claim thousands of lives. The reality is that thousands of earthquakes occur every year in the US, most of which are too minor to be felt much less cause any sort of damage. The real danger of earthquakes lies in the fact that they occur with no advanced warning, which means no time to properly prepare. This is why businesses and communities, even those not in earthquake prone areas, should have an understanding of the threats that earthquakes pose, as well as a mitigation plan that will allow them to continue to conduct business even if they are closed for a period of time following an earthquake.
In the United States, small businesses account for over 90% of companies with employees, employing over half of all private sector workers and providing 45% of the nationís payroll. Obviously, having these businesses knocked off the grid for any length of time can have a substantial impact on local or regional economies and if the earthquake is centered in the right place, the effects may be felt internationally.
The aftereffects of an earthquake on business operations is obvious, the disruption of normal routine which inhibits or eliminates the continued opportunities to generate revenue. Unfortunately, this may also affect businesses that provide the critical flow of services such as food, medicine, and utilities that are vitally needed in the aftermath of an earthquake. Such problems will only hinder and delay any meaningful disaster recovery.
How You Can Prepare Your Business
Many businesses have emergency management and contingency operations plans in place that can be executed in the event of a major disaster, but most have overlooked the possibility of an earthquake simply because they assume they are safe, particularly if they are not in an area known for earthquakes such as the US west coast. However, earthquakes can occur anywhere, which means every business should prepare.
Earthquakes can topple buildings, destroy contents, and render information systems unusable. Roads, bridges, and other infrastructure may be damaged which can cripple businesses that rely on them such as transportation. Earthquakes may also cause fire or flooding, both of which bring about their own special kind of damage and subsequent problems.
Obviously, all of these elements combine to result in business operations being effectively curtailed, if not completely knocked out for an extended period of time. Local emergency management services should be consulted on the preparation of an emergency plan, as well as seeing to it that all employees and staff are thoroughly briefed and familiar with contingency operations.
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