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New Toolkit for Small Businesses Streamlines BC Planning

In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has launched an updated edition of its free business continuity planning toolkit, Open for Business-EZ (OFB-EZ), to help small businesses prepare for a variety of disasters that could threaten operations. The new streamlined OFB-EZ walks small businesses through the steps to build and maintain a business continuity plan to prepare for, respond to, and recover faster from a minor disruption or a major disaster.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities, making their survival critical to recovery after a disaster. Yet, not accounting for the impact of the current pandemic, it is estimated that one in four small businesses forced to close by a disaster will never reopen. To help businesses overcome these odds, the updated OFB-EZ features ten easy-to-follow modules designed for busy small business owners and operators to seamlessly create a business continuity plan and prepare for everything from severe weather to a virus outbreak.

“This year alone has demonstrated why every business needs a continuity plan applicable to a range of potential disasters,” says Chuck Miccolis, managing director of commercial lines at IBHS. “The new edition of OFB-EZ provides business owners a streamlined, step-by-step guide to walk them through the process of identifying and mitigating risks.”

The new OFB-EZ includes additional modules designed to protect equipment critical to business functions and minimize business disruption.

OFB-EZ will help small businesses:

  • Determine which weather-related threats or other hazards pose the greatest threats to the business’ bottom line.
  • Identify essential business activities for continued operations.
  • Evaluate and manage organizational risks.
  • Develop a recovery plan tailored to the business, giving confidence if the worst occurs.
  • Test the plan and keep it up to date.

“Just as business owners must continually update their business continuity plans, we have refreshed the OFB-EZ toolkit to modernize and further simplify it, making it easier than ever to navigate. The update is also well-timed, as small businesses across the country are dealing with the dual demands of implementing COVID protocols at the same time that they must prepare for active wildfires and tropical storms,” explains Gail Moraton, business resiliency manager at IBHS.

Previous editions of OFB-EZ have been successfully used by businesses like Spry Health. Alison Bishop, internal operations manager at the California-based health technology company working with healthcare organizations to improve chronic care remote monitoring for vulnerable patients, turned to OFB-EZ when she needed to create a business continuity plan.

“I chose to use OFB-EZ because it is targeted at small businesses and makes this large-scale project digestible,” Bishop shared. “I’d highly recommend OFB-EZ, especially to human resources teams in small companies. It takes an overwhelming concept and makes it accessible and achievable. It feels good to have these conversations happening proactively and creates peace of mind knowing we won’t be caught off guard and unprepared in the case of an emergency.”

The new OFB-EZ toolkit is available at no cost at disastersafety.org/ofb-ez.

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