|Study indicates Grand Forks businesses must boost disaster planning|
Despite the savage financial impact of the 1997 flood, many Grand Forks business owners have not significantly increased their disaster planning efforts, according to a new study by UND economist David Flynn.
"I find only marginal evidence of an increase in disaster planning by the Grand Forks business community," says Flynn, a College of Business and Public Administration faculty member and associate director of the North Dakota Small Business Development Center (NDSBDC). Flynn's report, "Disaster's Impact on Small Business Disaster Planning," has been approved for publication in "Disasters," a peer-reviewed disaster management journal, both in its paper and online version. The work also is available online at the NDSBDC web site at www.ndsbdc.org .
The study, based in part on a survey of area business owners, shows that while improved disaster planning can help businesses recover after a large-magnitude event such as the 1997 flood, there's a need for more widespread efforts to improve disaster recovery planning on the part of smaller businesses.
However, Flynn discovered, businesses launched after the flood of 1997 are more likely to have a disaster recovery plan in place than businesses that went through the flood.
This result is unexpected and warrants further study, Flynn says. But more importantly, he says, his study points to a big potential problem for the Grand Forks small business community in the event of another disaster of a magnitude similar to that of the 1997 flood.
A lack of significant increase in planning by businesses in an area that experienced a disaster only nine years ago raises concerns about the preparedness of this area for other disasters, says Flynn. Additionally there should possibly be greater concerns in areas which have not experienced an type of disaster recently.
Flynn's work suggests that agencies such as Small Business Development Centers should develop more effective methods for addressing small business needs before, during, and after disasters.
-- David Flynn, College of Business and Public Administration, 777-3356; email@example.com