Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Business Emergency Preparedness

Get Your Business Ready

Emergency preparedness planning for businesses is more than just data backup and fire drills.  An informed, educated and trained workforce provides the best protection for any company from emergencies or disasters.   

Not all disasters are dramatic, worst-case scenarios.  Most emergencies are small – but if not prepared, can become costly or even catastrophic.  But, just like a family, being well-prepared for any event can make the difference between recovering quickly or extended suffering.  Consider these practical benefits that can strengthen any business regardless of its size:

Thorough emergency planning strengthens a company's ability to quickly recover from financial losses, loss of market share, damages to equipment or products, and business interruption in the event of a disaster.

A good preparedness plan can also enhance a company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers. It demonstrates the commitment by a company’s leadership to protect their workforce and their local community and may even help reduce insurance costs. An updated emergency plan can also facilitate compliance with regulatory safety requirements.

A good business disaster preparedness plan includes measure to protect:

  • All personnel (including field staff)
  • Infrastructure
  • Facilities
  • Data
  • Inventory
  • Property
It should include: 
  • A communications plan
  • Identify alternative locations for continuing business
  • Have records and data backup practices
  • Contingency plans for operating with a smaller staff
  • Alternative supply chains.

Ready Business

FEMA and www.Ready.gov offer a variety of materials and guide books to help businesses of all sizes create, exercise and implement good emergency response and recovery plans including the Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry.   The following information is a good start for small to mid-sized businesses.


The planning process should take an “all hazards” approach. There are many different threats or hazards. The probability that a specific hazard will impact your business is hard to determine. That’s why it’s important to consider many different threats and hazards and the likelihood they will occur.


Implementation of the preparedness program includes identifying and assessing resources, writing plans, developing a system to manage incidents and training employees so they can execute plans.

Testing and Exercises

You should conduct testing and exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of your preparedness program, make sure employees know what to do and find any missing parts.

Program Improvement

There are opportunities for program improvement following an actual incident. A critique should be conducted to assess the response to the incident. Lessons learned from incidents that occur within the community, within the business’ industry or nationally can identify needs for preparedness program changes.




The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also has disaster preparedness guides for businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private and commercial property.  SBA helps homeowners and renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. 


These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call (800) 659-2955 (TTY 1-800-977-8339)

In addition, many there are many private resources available to help companies design, plan and implement customized disaster contingency plans and responses.  Commercial insurance companies also offer a variety of disaster insurance policies and planning services – however, normal business insurance policies do not cover flood damages.


The only source for business flood insurance is the National Flood Insurance Program.

Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD)