Complex Event Resilience of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Natural Disaster Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jennifer F. Helgeson, Juan F. Fung, Alfredo R. Roa Henriquez, Yating Zhang, Ariela Zycherman, Claudia Nierenberg, David T. Butry, Donna H. Ramkissoon
Researchers at NIST and NOAA launched a longitudinal effort to assess Complex Event Resilience of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). As a first step, a national survey of SMEs was conducted to better understand: 1. Past SME experience with natural disasters; 2. Current SME experience with COVID-19; 3. Current SME experience with natural disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 4. Future plans to cope with COVID-19 and natural disasters. 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. 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: 1. Assistance navigating deep uncertainty, 2. Clear, detailed information and training, 3. Assistance with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment, and 4. Access to financial assistance and financial information.