Business Preparedness

The private sector is a vital part of the emergency management community. We see the state's vast network of business, industry, academia, trade associations and other non-governmental organizations as equal — and equally responsible — partners in every phase from preparedness to response and recovery to mitigation.


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Taylor Hennessee
Private Sector Program Manager
(253) 512-7054 |

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Private Sector Information

Preparedness Tips

Can your business bounce back from the impact of an earthquake, flood or severe weather storm? Does your business continuity plan include redundancy strategies to ensure your business can continue operation in the case of a power outage or phone interruption?

An estimated 40 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster. Building a continuity plan and taking proactive steps toward preparedness will reduce this risk, protect stakeholder's interests and ensure continuation of services.

Planning efforts should utilize an “all hazards approach” seeking to develop a process that remains relevant to 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 of occurrence.


Steps to comprehensive business planning and preparedness:

  1. Determine which hazards threaten your business. More detailed information on natural hazards our residents face is on our Threats & Hazards page.
  2. Conduct a Risk & Vulnerability Assessment
  3. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
  4. Create a Business Continuity Plan
  5. Review insurance coverage on an annual basis
  6. Take steps to protect vital records
  7. Develop and test Emergency Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place plans

Want to go even further? Take the following steps to prepare your business and your community:

Business Preparedness Resources

There is an overwhelming amount of preparedness and planning resources available to businesses online. While some resources may be better suited to different businesses, it is more important for your organization identify and process and plan that works for you than it is important that you chose “the right planning tool.”  Below are a few free sites that may help your organization in your preparation and planning efforts:

Business Recovery


Resumption of "business as normal," or recovery, includes activities taken after an event to return vital economic systems to minimum standards (in the short-term) and all economic systems to normal or improved levels (in the long-term). These activities can include damage assessment, data recovery, debris removal, crisis counseling, public information, reconstruction or temporary housing.

Our Business Recovery Guide contains helpful information to ensure businesses reopen their doors following a disaster.

FEMA Disaster Assistance

During every federally declared disaster FEMA will stand up the website to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) makes its low-interest loan programs available to qualifying businesses and private non-profit organizations that have suffered disaster damages. This occurs automatically following a Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD), but may also be available absent at PDD. Businesses of any size may request an application for a low-interest loan by telephone immediately after the declaration. Small Business Administration loan officers will be available at all Disaster Field Offices and Disaster Recovery Centers to provide one-on-one assistance. For assistance pursuing a SBA loan, visit the Emergency Management Division’s Individual and Small Business Assistance website.

Tax Relief in Disasters

Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the president declares their location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, the federal and state tax authorities may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Both individuals and businesses in a presidentially declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return. Visit the IRS Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief website for more federal tax information and the Washington Department of Revenue website for state tax information.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Assistance

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency emergency loans may be available to farmers who were operating a farm at the time of a disaster. Loans are limited to the amount necessary to compensate for actual losses to essential property or to production capacity. For more information, visit the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Farm or ranch owners and self-employed persons may qualify for disaster unemployment if they are out of work because of a disaster and are not covered by regular unemployment insurance. This program is administered by the State Department of Employment Security through the U.S. Department of Labor. Millions of dollars in Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been disbursed to Washington residents in recent years.

Business Re-entry Registration

In order to facilitate easy identification of business partners with a need for access to their facilities and the communities they serve, Washington state has developed a standard Business Re-Entry Registration system. This system allows businesses to register with the state and shares their information with local jurisdictions during an emergency. Learn more about Business Re-entry Registration here.

DURING COVID -19 Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation

Business Re Entry registration is not required and will not be used for Essential Function determination. For resources and frequently asked questions for businesses and workers, please visit

The business Re-Entry Program is experiencing a high volume of applications right now. If you have applied, please allow several days to a week for your application to be processed.

Online Training for Private Sector Organizations

The suggested FREE courses below may be found on the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s website.

Emergency Management

Continuity Planning

Public-Private Partnerships

Critical Infrastructure

Links to Partner Organizations

Federal Government

State Agency Partners

Other Partners

Emergency Management Information