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25 Percent Of Businesses Unprepared For Disasters

Three years after 9/11, a year after a major blackout nailed the Northeast, and just days after a major hurricane devastated sections of west Florida, nearly one in four American businesses are still risking it all by not having a disaster plan in place, a study released Wednesday said.
The study, which was done by the non-profit Partnership for Public Warning in conjunction with AT&T, surveyed 1,000 executives from ten of the country's major metro areas, including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.

A quarter of the businesses in New York City and Washington, D.C., the two targets of the 9/11 attacks, and the former now on selected alert against terrorist attacks, lack a plan. But at least they're more prepared than firms in earthquake-prone Los Angeles: there, 30 percent of companies work without a plan.

"None of this was really a surprise," said Ken Allen, the executive director of Partnership for Public Warning. "It was perhaps a disappointment, but it only confirmed what we expected: too many businesses are unprepared."

Businesses in Florida are the most prepared, said Allen, with only 15 percent of the firms surveyed there operating without a business continuity plan. More Florida companies tend to be ready for the worst, Allen went on to say, because of their constant exposure to hurricanes.

"But even in Florida, news reports of thousands laid off after Hurricane Charley because their employers didn't have a plan in place is distressing," Allen noted.

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