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ANSI-HSSP Workshop Report Details Recommendations and Findings for Small Business Preparedness

According to the Red Cross Ready Rating Program, 15 to 40% of businesses fail following a natural or man-made disaster, yet one-third of businesses surveyed had no business continuity plan. For small businesses in particular, resuming operations after a disaster depends on proactive preparation for unexpected circumstances. Effective preparedness standards and conformance programs help to assure individual health and safety, and work to maintain the links in the supply chain so that businesses are better positioned to recover from financial loss and business interruption.

As part of a continuing effort to help small businesses prepare for and respond to unexpected circumstances, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) has released a report detailing its findings and recommendations from the May 25 ANSI-HSSP workshop, Achieving Preparedness through Standards Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for Small Businesses.

The interactive workshop provided an opportunity for all participants - government, standards developers, program developers, and small businesses - to identify actions needed to better reflect small business considerations with regard to preparedness standards and conformity assessment activities. Attendees examined existing standards and conformance programs and their value to the small business community, as well as the challenges related to cost and duration of implementation.

According to the report, small businesses are an integral part of our national economy, and it is crucial that these organizations grasp the value of standards and conformity assessment in overcoming obstacles presented by disasters. Speakers suggested that small businesses should take incremental steps through various programs to achieve preparedness, and that throughout the process, information sharing and education are key to successful implementation.

Simplified, consistent language is needed in standards and conformity assessment programs in order to help the small business community understand their value. According to participants, small businesses have asked questions such as:

  • What do you want me to do?
  • What is the action?
  • Can you tell me why I should do that?
  • How is it effective?

Standards developers and conformance program administrators need to keep the small business audience and these questions in mind when developing standards and programs for preparedness and disaster recovery.

The report finds that through clear and consistent messaging, and credible metrics on the importance of standards for preparedness, as well as further education and mentoring for small business owners, businesses can be more secure, even in an insecure environment.

The final report and all presentations from the May 25 workshop are available in the ANSI-HSSP library.

For more information on the work of the ANSI-HSSP, visit

The May 25 workshop, Achieving Preparedness through Standards Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for Small Businesses, was sponsored by the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at Louisiana State University.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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