A week ago, the airwaves were filled with dire predictions of widespread destruction, as Hurricane Matthew churned across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean. Matthew struck Haiti with incredible intensity, then moved up the coast, dumping water up the East Coast as far north as Virginia.9845935_s

This week, people across the region are making their way back home and beginning the long process of recovery.

But for many business owners, there will be no recovery. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as many as 40 percent of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.

How can you beat the odds and keep your doors open if disaster strikes? Here are starting points:

Have a strong disaster recovery plan in place. At its most basic, a disaster recovery plan leads you to consider the types of man-made and natural disasters that might present a risk in your community, and identify ways you can remediate that risk. The Small Business Administration has a number of helpful planning tools available for businesses and organizations of every size here.

Partner with your insurance carrier before, during and after a disaster.  Regularly review your coverage with your insurance agent. Your insurance carrier also likely has a number of risk mitigation and planning tools available, too, that will help you in creating a disaster recovery plan. If your business is impacted by a disaster, call your insurance company right away for guidance.

Keep safety in mind when cleaning up. Cleaning up following a disaster presents its own unique set of challenges.   From downed power lines to displaced wildlife to mold, post-disaster cleanup must be handled with care. Get some tips for cleaning up here.