“No matter where in America they are located, small businesses face a significant risk from severe weather events,” says Gail Moraton, resiliency program manager for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

“The good news is with some basic, thoughtful planning, these risks can be managed, reduced and often prevented from becoming true disasters.

“The government estimates that 40% of small businesses never reopen after a weather-related disaster. Lowering that percentage by helping small businesses stay open is good for business owners, their communities, and our national economy.”

IBHS urges small business owners to use its two free, non-technical digital tools: OFB-EZ, a business continuity tool, and EZ-PREP, a severe weather emergency preparedness and response planning toolkit.

OFB-EZ can help even the smallest business focus on long-term planning for any type of business interruption, while EZ-PREP helps small businesses develop short-term plans for imminent operational disruptions.

“One of the most useful features of EZ-PREP is that actions are organized chronologically,” explains Moraton.

“If a business has adequate warning of an extreme weather event such as a hurricane or a severe storm front expected to hit their area, this tool walks them through what should be done five days before, 72 hours before, 24–48 hours before, during and immediately after the event, and during the recovery process.”

Creating simple, straightforward plans using the complementary OFB-EZ and EZ-PREP toolkits enables small businesses to maximize time and focus energy during any emergency.

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities. After a severe weather event, we often gather at the first open places to get goods or coffee, share stories, check in on friends and neighbors,” Moraton says.

“Remaining open for business is a demonstration of true resilience and helps the broader community recover.”