Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Contact: Nick Benson, SBS Press Secretary -, 212-618-6778


With arrival of peak hurricane season, NYC business owners should be prepared

NEW YORK – The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) today, during National Preparedness Month, announced the availability of free resources and tips to help small businesses prepare for hurricane season and other emergency events. SBS can help business owners develop an emergency preparedness plan, receive a free risk assessment, and apply for emergency readiness grants.

SBS offers a program called Business PREP that is open to businesses in the neighborhoods most vulnerable to extreme weather events. As part of the program, a team of emergency planning and insurance experts will visit businesses and review physical space, operations, and insurance coverage. Personnel will offer recommendations to help businesses reduce risks in the event of a disaster or disruption. More information on this service is available at

“With hurricane season comes additional risks for all New Yorkers, including small business owners,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Small business owners put their heart and soul into their work, not to mention major financial investments. By following a few important tips, business owners can be better prepared if a disaster strikes.”   

In addition to the Business PREP program, SBS offers other tips and resources for small businesses:

Emergency Planning

You should develop a business continuity plan. SBS offers a worksheet to help with the development of your continuity plan. This plan will help you prepare to withstand and recover from a disruption and should include, among other items (full list available here):

  • A list of the most important activities necessary to run your business, a description of the steps to complete these activities, special skills to perform the activity (for example, training, certification), and the time sensitivity of getting each activity back up and running after an interruption.
  • An emergency communications plan for all employees, including persons with disabilities and those with limited English language proficiency.
  • Evacuation plans and emergency escape route assignments.
  • A list of important documents such as:
  • Insurance policies and contacts
    o Insurance policies and contacts
    o Building contacts and property records
    o Bank account records/statements
    o Tax documents
    o Tax records
    o Employee related documents
  • List all locations where the document is stored. Make sure to have back-up copies of important documents in an alternate location and/or stored electronically.
  • A contact list of all employees. Include at least one method of after-hours communication to get in touch with employees.
  • A contact list of all vendors and suppliers.

Important Things To Do During Or Immediately After An Emergency

  • If you or others are facing immediate danger, first call 911.
  • Determine if you will be able to conduct business in the near-term:
    o Are there any significant changes to the immediate surroundings that would affect access to your space?
    o Will this this emergency have any effect on the products and services your business offers?
  • Contact your customers, employees, suppliers, and insurance company to communicate needs, changes and contingency plans.

How Can SBS Help?

  • Attend a free SBS emergency preparedness workshop or webinar. You will learn how to:
    o Stay in business: Identify your key business activities, employees, and documents
    o Protect your investments: Understand how to protect your assets and navigate insurance
    o Be ready for action: Create an emergency and business continuity plan for your business
  • If your business is facing a real-time emergency, you may contact SBS by calling 212-618-8810. SBS can:
    o Provide you with the latest emergency information on street closures, utilities disruptions, security and demolitions.
    o Assist with retrieval of valuable items and documents from your business location (if safe to do so.)
    o Coordinate with the NYC Police Department and other emergency responders to make sure your business location is secure and prevent losses.
    o Connect you to local business organizations for possible relocation assistance.
  • SBS provides assistance to businesses after an emergency. SBS can:
    o Connect you to recovery information and resources including business relocation assistance, help with insurance questions, free legal advice and financing assistance.
    o Help troubleshoot government regulations and permitting questions with City agencies such as the NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Department of Health, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, and many others.

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.