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Fourth 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.

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