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SBA reminds Mississippi residents and businesses that disaster preparedness saves lives and dollars

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration urges everyone to have a disaster preparedness plan to save lives and dollars. Recent hurricanes in Mississippi remind us that disasters can take many forms, and the cost to rebuild after a disaster can be overwhelming.

A survey by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, found that less than half of Americans feel that their community has an adequate response plan for a disaster that gives no advance warning, such as an earthquake or terrorist event. Yet the proportion of families who lack an emergency preparedness plan has declined since 2003.

The SBA suggests three simple steps to develop a disaster plan. First, assess  risk. Everyone has unique vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Knowing which disasters are likely to affect you can help you avoid injury and recover from a disaster faster.

The next step is to create a plan. A response plan protects  and provides a roadmap to recovery. It should be tailored to your specific needs. The plan should address immediate priorities and be easy to access.

Checklists and online toolkits are good resources to help develop a plan. Guidance, including Spanish language materials, can be found at ready.gov.

Finally, execute the plan. Practice the plan with  family, or business staff. Practicing a plan allows you to evaluate and improve it so you are ready when a disaster occurs.

Additional information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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