Do your BEST to be prepared

The headlines say it all …

“Fire guts historic building on 7th Street”
“Bugged driver runs SUV into building”
“Toxic fumes force evacuation”
“Car crashes into Oregon City strip mall”

These local headlines speak volumes for the need to have emergency preparedness plans in our businesses. This month your Oregon City Chamber with the cooperation of seven agencies and businesses will unveil its Business Emergency Survival Toolkit (BEST). Before you decide that it can’t happen to your business, you should know that one in four businesses never reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. While disasters such as 9/11 do occur, they are statistically less common than other emergencies for which businesses must be prepared. More often a local business, even our own Chamber, is at greatest risk for fires, floods, cyber attacks, automobile collisions, death of a key employee, supply shortage, and being cut off from key supplier or customer. “Research conducted by the Ad Council found that more than 85% of small businesses understand that emergency preparedness is important, yet only four in ten businesses have a plan to protect their businesses,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Your Chamber and our cooperating partners are making every effort to see that local businesses have a plan in place to mitigate the effects of a disruption. If you are in business you can’t afford to procrastinate — we do not want your business to become a statistic. Any business disruption can result in loss of jobs, revenue, customers, supplies/services. The longer it takes a business to get up and running results in more economic damage to the community. A plan can help get you back to business sooner. It has been shown that a business can be hurt indirectly when disaster strikes customers or an affiliated business, such as a supplier or distributor.

A business continuity plan is a structured approach to look at your business and identify what can go wrong and then develop plans to reduce those risks. A Chamber task force developed the Business Emergency Survival Toolkit (BEST) that will be made available to you on CD or by downloading from our Chamber website. The task force has worked hard to create a tool for Oregon City businesses that combined the greatest combination of resources to benefit you. The toolkit provides an overview for emergency planning, walks you through chain of command communications, helps you identify your own business essentials (functions, equipment, customers and suppliers), and summarizes the protection your business needs. Included in the toolkit are the forms you will need to complete the process and protect your investment.

Funding for this project was provided through a 2007 economic development grant from the City of Oregon City business license fund. The Chamber believes that helping businesses develop a plan to get them back to business quickly after a disruption is an important function of our dedication to economic vitality. Because this effort is for all businesses in Oregon City, our Chamber will mail out postcards to other licensed businesses in Oregon City and offer them a CD toolkit. We will work with our press contacts to spread the word about BEST demonstrating our local efforts to see that all businesses “Do your BEST to be prepared”.

Special thanks to our Steering Committee members:
Sonja Zrelak, Clackamas County Bank – Task Force Chair
Aaron Breniman, Oregon City DBC
Liz Christiansen, Fournier Group, Risk Management Advisor
Kevin Donegan, Clackamas Fire District #1, Emergency Manager
Betty Mumm, Willamette Falls Hospital
Torrey Murphy, Advanced Business Networks
Lt. Lisa Nunes, Oregon City Police Department
Julie Paulsen, Chamber Communications Coordinator
Dana Robinson, Clackamas County Dept. of Emergency Management Director
David Wimmer, City of Oregon City Finance Director