LSBDC sets up emergency alert system

Northwestern State University
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 2:23pm

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center has launched a statewide mobile emergency alert system that delivers immediate updates via SMS text messaging to help small businesses prepare for hurricane season. By texting READY to (318) 769-9921, small businesses can access information about potential hurricanes, floods or other emergencies that may impact their business. There is no charge for the service. Standard message rates apply.

By signing up for emergency mobile alerts, small businesses will receive information on steps they can take to get ready and where to find help if needed. Should the president declare a state of emergency, the LSBDC will send a list of locations and contact information for state and local emergency assistance agencies including the LSBDC, U.S. Small Business Administration and Louisiana Economic Development.

“Communication is one of the most critical components of disaster planning and recovery. During a crisis, cell phones are often the best way to communicate and in some cases, the only form of communication,” said Barry Parker, business continuity director of the LSBDC. “Establishing this system gives us another way to get in touch with small businesses to help them mitigate the impact of a storm. We urge all small businesses to sign up for this free service.”

Small businesses can customize their subscription to receive only alerts pertaining to their specific geographic area within the state. When subscribers select this custom setting, the LSBDC will only send notifications when an imminent threat approaches their area. Small businesses can visit lsbdc.org/READY<http://www.lsbdc.org/READY> for more details.

“We encourage all small businesses to avail themselves of this service,” said Jim Kilcoyne, director of the LSBDC Center at NSU, said. “Recent events are another reminder of how sudden our lives and our businesses can be disrupted.”

The LSBDC worked with interactive marketing and technology firm eMerge to develop the mobile alert system. The Slidell-based company has worked with local government and emergency alert agencies across Louisiana to help ensure public safety during a crisis.
Since 2005, the LSBDC has provided business recovery assistance to more than 10,000 small businesses. Over the last several years, the LSBDC has consulted, trained and shared resources with various organizations at the national and international level.

In 2011, the ASBDC Accreditation Committee recognized the business continuity and risk management program, Ready for Anything, as a best practice. The program provides small businesses with education, training and business management assistance needed to minimize its losses and increase survivability when affected by workplace disruptions or natural and man-made disasters.

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