Businesses Prepared for Natural Disasters Are Surviving COVID-19 Better Than the Competition
In the early days of the pandemic, as toilet paper, flour, and other supplies disappeared from market shelves, rueful media stories acknowledged that preppers—who have been the butt of jokes and over-the-top reality shows—may be on to something after all. Being equipped to weather difficult times, it turns out, puts you ahead of the game when those difficult times arrive.
A recent federal report gives preppers perhaps more reason to feel a bit smug. Drawing on the results of a survey of over 1,300 small- and medium-sized enterprises across the country, it reveals that businesses that planned for and have dealt with natural disasters are surviving lockdowns and social distancing better than the competition.
“Nearly a quarter of businesses felt natural disaster preparations helped them address COVID-19,” researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report of the results of the joint survey.
Two-thirds of surveyed businesses said that they had prepared for natural disasters. The reason why becomes clear given that a large majority of respondents—ranging from 74 percent in the West to 89 percent in the South—suffered natural disasters within the past 10 years. Such disasters included predictable chronic problems (as defined by the survey) such as drought, extreme cold, heat waves, winter storms, and flooding, as well as unpredictable acute events including hurricanes, storm surge, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and wildfires.
In a year marked by hurricanes and wildfires in addition to COVID-19, a full 29 percent of surveyed businesses reported suffering from a natural disaster since the beginning of the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly, preparations that help businesses pull through the strictures and economic pressures of the pandemic are those that aren’t completely targeted at events such as hurricanes or earthquakes. “Practices with broad applicability shone through over those specific to one kind of disaster. Two notable examples from the responses were having rainy-day funds for when income
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