Released: Sept. 16, 2016
New disaster app can help small businesses prepare for the worst
The app is available free for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The sprinklers go off by mistake in your office building. A strong wind blows the roof off your lab. You lose all of your computer files in a major crash.
If you own or manage a small business, a disaster like any one of these could put a major dent in your work and your bottom line.
A new phone app won't fix such problems, but could help a business start operating again more quickly and easily.
The Small Business Disaster Plan app is available free for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. It was developed by the North Dakota State University Extension Service and Myriad Mobile, Fargo, N.D.
"We used FEMA's ready.gov information for businesses and the Extension Disaster Education Network's Ready Business training program to integrate with the functionality of the tablet and smartphone,” said Bob Bertsch, the NDSU web technology specialist who led work on the app's content. “Yes, there are online templates for business disaster plans, but this app provides portability and functionality."
The Extension Disaster Education Network is a collaboration of land grant universities focused on reducing the effect of disasters through education. Kansas State University is a part of EDEN and shares preparedness tips on its Prepare Kansas blog.
"There are two things that I have heard small-business owners say repeatedly: The first is, they never have enough time. And the second is, 'Where did I file that?'" said Glenn Muske, NDSU extension rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist.
The Small Business Disaster Plan app takes on both of those, Muske said, by letting you fill out important disaster plan information, along with supporting photos right from your smartphone or tablet – which you always have with you.
“Of course, you should save the information in the cloud, too, in case your phone or tablet is lost,” he added.
The app lets you enter information for your business, including basic and contact information, emergency planning, evacuation, insurance information and more.
Plans should be reviewed annually, Muske said, so the app uses your phone's alerts to remind you to review the information at a designated time in the future.
The content can be downloaded as a csv file. The app also encourages you to upload the content to a cloud service such as Dropbox, iCloud, Drop or a similar service for backup.
"Planning is never high on anyone's list," Muske said. "But think how easy the process is when the structure is there and you just need to fill in the blanks. That's exactly what this Small Business Disaster Plan app provides. And because September is National Preparedness Month, it's a great time to get your business prepared for disasters."
Development of the Small Business Disaster Plan app for tablets and smartphones was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.
K-State Research and Extension http://www.ksu.edu
For more information:
Glenn Muske, North Dakota State University - 701-328-9718 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Bertsch, North Dakota State University - 701-231-7381 or email@example.com
Becky Koch, North Dakota State University - 701-231-7875, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Lou Peter, Kansas State University – 913-856-2335 Ext. 130 or email@example.com