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Disaster Recovery Starts Before the Actual Disaster

Beecher, Illinois – Getting back to business after a disaster depends on preparedness planning done today. Small business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, and yet, while the importance of emergency planning may seem self-evident, it may get put on the backburner in the face of more immediate concerns. For small business owners, being prepared can mean staying in business following a disaster. An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. While there may be a tendency to think that a large-scale disaster is not going to happen "where I live", the reality is that storms, floods, earthquakes, fires and man-made disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. Planning ahead for your own post-disaster recovery is a good step toward protecting your family, your business and your community.

• Develop a solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes and establish meeting places. Everyone should be familiar with the plan beforehand. Keep emergency numbers handy. Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors. An up-to-date employee contact list should include home, cell phones, and emergency contacts, and be readily available. It is also a good idea to have an out-of-state point of contact that can support the flow of information about short-term relocations, recovery, additional sources of assistance, etc. Annual reviews and/or practice drills also reinforce

• Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage – at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Review the policy to see what is or isn't covered. Companies may want to consider business interruption insurance, which helps to cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find out about the National Flood Insurance Program.

• Copy important records. It's a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store that information at an offsite location in fireproof safe deposit boxes. Small external back-up drives are an easy and inexpensive way to ensure that vital information is not lost. Having an additional back up that can be taken with in the event of an evacuation is also recommended.

These are just a few of the basic steps every business should consider. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) offers a comprehensive guide, Ready Business, to help companies prepare for emergencies. Visit www.ready.gov/business to find out how you can be prepared before disaster strikes.

About First Community Bank and Trust
First Community Bank and Trust is a privately owned bank. Established in 1916 First Community Bank and Trust has been serving Beecher, IL, Peotone, IL and the surrounding communities for over 95 years. Our commitment to providing the best banking products and services is matched only by our outstanding customer service. We offer traditional community banking services, including mortgage, consumer, and commercial lending, as well as state of the art electronic banking services.

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Press Contact:
Steven D. Koehn, VP
First Community Bank and Trust
(708) 946-2246