Mitigation is the process of protecting your property by reducing the impact that disasters will have. Research shows that every dollar spent on mitigation ahead of time saves four dollars when disaster strikes. Decide how much you can invest now and develop a plan to keep investing over time. Even if you can’t do everything, every small step you can take can make your business more resilient.

If you own the building, talk to a contractor about the cost of structural mitigation like earthquake or flood retrofitting, hurricane shutters or fire suppression systems. Plan for those as capital improvements are made in the future.

If you don’t own the building your business is in, talk to the building owner about mitigation. They are protecting their own business assets by mitigating, as well as yours.

There are many things you can do that are less costly, but that can provide big savings in prevented damage.

For example:

  1. Make sure there are working fire extinguishers throughout your facility and that staff is trained in how and when to use them. Make sure everyone also understands when a fire is too big to try to use a fire extinguisher. Contact your local fire department and see if they can offer any training.

    • Visit http://www.usfa.fema.gov/ for information on fire safety and training
    • Visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/firesafety/index.html for OSHA fire safety requirements
  2. Use straps to fasten down shelves, filing cabinets, cubicles, and tabletop equipment to prevent losses in an earthquake or tornado.

    • Visit http://www.fema.gov/earthquake/earthquake-information-businesses-and-other- organizations for information on earthquake safety
    • Visit https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/tornado/index.html for tornado safety planning.
  3. Install flood drain plugs in floor drains to prevent sanitary or storm sewer backups into your building.

    • Visit https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/10618?id=2737 to download a copy of FEMA Guide 551: Selecting Appropriate Mitigation Measures for Floodprone Structures.