Valley Vision Unveils Regional Solution to Disaster Preparedness

Valley Vision unveils regional solution to disaster preparedness
for businesses across the six-county Sacramento region

Comprehensive business resilience toolkit now available to help prepare Capital Region businesses

 Sacramento, CA— The Capital Region Business Resiliency Initiative (BRI) released today an essential resource for area businesses. The resilience toolkit and other preparedness resources are now available at  Valley Vision launched the region-wide business resiliency initiative last year with business and government partners to help local business owners prepare for when disaster strikes.

“The last 10 years has seen a spike in natural disasters across the country, a risk that is very real here in the Capital Region,” said Bill Mueller, Valley Vision‘s chief executive.  “About half of our $100 billion-a-year regional economy relies on the strength and ingenuity of small business, so keeping their doors open is a regional priority.”

Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly at risk because they don’t always have the resources or capacity to concentrate on preparedness planning. Small businesses also tend to have all of their operations concentrated in one location, putting their assets at greater risk of damage.The BRI toolkit is a small-business focused, action-oriented guide to resilience and business continuity planning.The toolkit offers clear and concise guidance for planning steps that include understanding risks and environment, assessing readiness, taking action, and engaging with community resilience efforts.

The BRI toolkit is designed for the Capital Region’s specific hazards.“We cannot ignore that our region faces a distinct risk of multiple natural disaster threats that include flood, wildfire, drought, severe storms and extreme heat, and that disasters are increasing in frequency and severity,” stated Meg Arnold, project leader of ValleyVision’s BRI effort. “Business continuity planning is vital to the survival of our businesses and economy and therefore cannot be put off indefinitely.”

Key federal agencies are involved in shaping the regional BRI effort, including the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), with whom Valley Vision is working to explore the opportunity of utilizing the BRI model as a pilot for small business preparedness nationally.

“The U.S. Economic Development Administration recognizes the importance of preparedness in order to speed the process of recovery in the aftermath of a disaster,” said Malinda Matson, Economic Development Representative for Northern California. “EDA commends Valley Vision’s BRI work because prepared communities are more resilient and tend to bounce back faster with fewer long term economic impacts.”

The toolkit is geared toward small business because of the considerable economic impact at risk. “Small business is the driving force of the Capital Region’s economy,” said John Dangberg, assistant city manager for the City of Sacramento. “With small businesses providing half of the region’s private sector jobs, having measures in place to protect them in the event of a major disaster is absolutely critical.”

Studies show that 40-60% of small businesses never reopen following a major disaster ( Businesses with 20 employees or less comprise 90 percent of the region’s 60,000 businesses, and those with 249 employees or less make up almost 80 percent of all private sector jobs in the region (California Employment Development Department). Yet, studies indicated that as much as 57% do not have a disaster recovery plan (Small Business Majority and the American Sustainable Business Council), leaving them unprepared to rebound in the wake of disaster.

The Capital Region Business Resiliency Initiative is widely supported by regional partners as well that includethe Sacramento Metro Chamber, the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Davis Chamber of Commerce, the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange, the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce, Region Builders, the Roseville Chamber of Commerce, and the River District.

Other key partners across the region representing public, private and nonprofit sectors are demonstrating high-level support for BRI. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative, the City of Sacramento, and the Local Government Commission (LGC) have all been central advisors to the overall project design. The American Red Cross, SMUD, Connected Consulting Services, the Association of Sacramento Area Planners (ASAP), River City Food Bank, the city of Citrus Heights, and Placer County are active partners. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) funded the initial phases of the BRI project.

“We view this as a whole community endeavor,” said Arnold. “We welcome additional partners who are willing to help promote this important economic resilience initiative to ensure that their member businesses have the tools and information they need to withstand a disruption.”