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Complex event resilience of small- and medium-sized enterprises: Natural disaster planning during the COVID-19 pandemic
In this paper, Researchers at NIST and NOAA assess Complex Event Resilience of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) during the Covid-19 period. This effort fills the gap in research on the experiences of SMEs dealing with complex events generally and those that arise during a pandemic, specifically.
As a first step, a national survey of SMEs was conducted to better understand (a) Past SME experience with natural disasters, (b) current SME experience with COVID-19, (c) current SME experience with natural disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (d) future plans to cope with COVID-19 and natural disasters.
Initial findings from over 1300 SMEs indicate that:
- 29 % have already experienced a natural disaster during the pandemic
- 76 % implemented some adaptation/coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 66 % implemented natural disaster resilience planning in the past (pre-COVID-19), of which 23 % note use of natural disaster resilience actions to address COVID-19
- 72 % are concerned about future complex events in the context of COVID-19, of which 31 % identify their concern as arising from natural disaster(s) during a pandemic
Four categories of resources and information are identified by respondents to help them address complex event risks arising from natural hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Assistance navigating deep uncertainty
- Clear, detailed information and training
- Assistance with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment
- Access to financial assistance and financial information.