Biba urges small businesses to implement disaster recovery plans

Statistics might show that 80 per cent of businesses affected by a major incident close down within 18 months, but nearly half of small firms still don't have plans in place to deal with the effects of flood or storm damage.

That's according to the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba), which is using its research to stir the government into action to help small companies survive incidents like a fire, a flood, an act of terrorism or a pandemic such as swine flu - particularly during the economic downturn. It found that the number of small-business owners who claim it would take more than six months for their enterprise to recover from a disaster has nearly trebled.

Steve Foulsham, technical services manager at the organisation, said there have been "slight improvements" since Biba's previous research in 2006, but concerns remain that businesses are still not adequately protected.

"It is vital to raise and maintain awareness of the need for businesses to prepare for the potential impacts of a natural disaster or terrorist attack," he continued. "The Buncefield Oil Depot fire, 7/7 bombings and continued incidents of flooding illustrate the need for all to plan for the unexpected."

Such plans might include considering how a business would work if its computer or phone system went down, how machines, equipment and stock might be replaced and how a firm would cope in the first hour following a disaster.

Biba also advises weighing up the effects on a company if a major supplier or customer were to suffer a major incident, and implementing plans to deal with half of all staff being off sick.

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