Local & Regional
4:03 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Tulsa Businesses Urged to Prepare for Severe Weather Season

This map from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety shows which natural disasters different areas of the country are at the highest risk for. The gray line across the map is considered the freeze line, with everywhere above it at risk for extreme winter weather.
This map from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety shows which natural disasters different areas of the country are at the highest risk for. The gray line across the map is considered the freeze line, with everywhere above it at risk for extreme winter weather.
Credit IBHS

It’s officially tornado season, and disaster preparation experts warn Tulsa-area business owners to plan for the worst now.

Nonprofit group Tulsa Partners is urging businesses to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster shutting them down. David Hall with the Disaster Resistant Business Council said 90 percent of small business owners don’t have a plan because they’re too busy to make one, but not having one is a big risk.

"If you're tying up all your assets and all your investments into your small business and it's everything about you, then we have to talk about how to protect that. For you," Hall said.

Hall added closed businesses end up hurting the whole community when they’re in a city funded largely by sales tax revenue.

Statistics are grim for businesses affected by a disaster. In all, 60 percent never fully recover if shut down three months or more.

Businesses and non-profits are last in line for federal recovery grants. That’s if the disaster even qualifies, said Chuck Banks with professional service firm Deloitte.

"There can be events that are devastating to a business or nonprofit that weren't declared," Banks said. "So that's the other component, too, that there may not ever be that type of assistance."

Tulsa Partners recommends a toolkit available free online for business owners who need to develop a continuity plan.