Washington, DC -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is introducing a new course to raise awareness in communities for the need to reduce the consequences of disasters on small businesses. Small- to medium-sized businesses provide nearly 80 percent of the jobs in an average community, but are at great risk for failure after a disaster.
"Small businesses are the economic backbone of communities across the nation, but they are often unable to reopen after a disaster but 30 to 40 percent never reopen after a disaster," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. "Experience has shown that advance planning and mitigation can significantly increase the likelihood that these small businesses can survive a disaster, keeping a community economically viable and helping to fuel the recovery."
In order to meet this need and help prevent business losses, the course is being offered by FEMA's Emergency Management Institute, in conjunction with the Economic Development Administration. The course brings together state and local officials, economic development leaders, emergency managers and other stakeholders to develop business loss prevention strategies, share concerns and raise awareness of each other's priorities. The course will be offered at the National Emergency Training Center, in Emmitsburg, Md., only twice in 2004 - from April 12-16 and August 23-27.
Details can be found at //training.fema.gov/emiweb/EMICourses/e464.asp.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.