Ready Business

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The Marin Business Emergency Readiness Program was developed to help Marin County businesses thoughtfully prepare for, respond to and quickly recover from major emergencies and local disasters.

The program is straightforward. It uses a business emergency/disaster readiness Score Card to help you evaluate your business’s preparedness to deal with emergencies and to help identify additional steps to improve that readiness. MBER provides a template to help you assemble an Emergency Plan in an easily updatable format, which you can build over time at your own pace. The template is linked to Help Screens providing explanations of key concepts and helpful tips.

By utilizing this scoring system, you will know where you stand and how you are progressing. In many parts of Marin (see list of participating jurisdictions below), you will have access to a Local MBER Coordinator to answer any questions, to review your documentation and to certify your level of readiness.

Why Should Your Business Participate?

Emergencies and disasters can occur at any time, often without warning and can have devastating effects on a community, including its businesses. Local businesses remaining open are crucial to the ability of that community to recover from a disaster. Although reports vary, many officials, including those from FEMA, Red Cross and Small Business Administration have observed that as many as 25-40% of businesses without an Emergency Plan never reopen following a disaster. Business owners invest large amounts of time and financial resources to make their business successful, so taking the steps to protect that investment is only natural. Having an Emergency Plan and being able to put it into immediate action can mean the difference between staying open to meet the needs of your customers and community or shutting down for days or longer.

Small businesses are seen as particularly vulnerable to business interruption, as many smaller companies don’t have the financial buffer or resources to survive a prolonged closure. Another reason to stay open, which is not often stated but implied, is the social and moral obligation to protecting your employees, customers, suppliers and community.

The benefits of the program are increased safety for your customers and employees, protection of your business investment, long-term resilience of your business and the security of knowing that you are well prepared. Your employees should also be trained in the discipline of disaster preparedness for themselves and their families.

As a tangible measure of your diligence to protect your customers, employees and business investment, the program offers Readiness Certificates at various levels which you can display in your place of business, on your letterhead/website or on your advertisements. They are awarded at the following levels:

Min Certified Score (out of 100)Readiness Level
20 pointsBronze
40 pointsSilver
60 pointsGold
80 pointsPlatinum

Please note that readiness certificates are awarded on varying schedules by the local jurisdictions.

Which Local Jurisdictions Are Participating?

This program is being made available starting in May 2016 to all local government jurisdictions responsible for disaster preparedness in the County of Marin and its eleven cities. However not all have appointed and trained Local MBER Coordinators to support businesses in their geographical area. As of the most recent update, the following local government jurisdictions are participating members:

Mill Valley Fire Department
Geographic Area: Within Mill Valley city limits
Local MBER Coordinator: Fire Chief Tom Welch
Contact: 415 389-4142 or

How Does Your Business Participate?

The process typically works for you as follows:

  1. Get Organized: Appoint an Emergency Coordinator and an Alternate to lead this effort for your business. Download to your business’s computer an M′BER Emergency Plan Template and an MBER Score Card from the Resources section below. Replace “my-business-name” in the file name with your business’s name.
  2. Assess Where You Stand: Complete an initial readiness evaluation using the MBER Score Card to give your business credit for everything you have done in the past to prepare for disasters and identify areas for improvement. You can refer to the MBER Emergency Plan Template if you are not sure what is being asked for in a M′BER Score Card requirement (the documents use identical numbering schemes so Template section B4 contains the information requested in MBER Score Card requirement B4). Each Template section also has a help button (a hyperlink to the Help page) with more detailed explanations of the rationale and helpful suggestions for each requirement. As you progress, enter the requested information into the MBER Emergency Plan Template for each of the 28 requirements on which you scored any points. When you have completed the MBER Score Card, save a copy of this document as this is your baseline or starting point.
  3. Build Your Emergency Plan: The goal is to have an Emergency Plan to use as a reference & training tool for you & your staff. This is the Plan that will guide your staff in their response to an emergency event, even if you are not present. The Scorecard is a good first step, as it will guide you to which requirements to work on next. The Points Remaining highlighted in red in the far right column will suggest the areas with the highest potential for improvement, while you can assess the incremental effort to make each improvement. As you complete each requirement, record any new information in the Emergency Plan Template in the appropriate sections and update your M′BER Score Card. Repeat this step until the plan is complete.
  4. Verify Your Progress: When you reach a new readiness level (shown on the Score Card cell E4) or at a natural break point, you can forward everything to your Local MBER Coordinator for review. With each new update, assign a new version number and effective date to your Emergency Plan and the MBER Score Card (See Versions and Archiving). Update section A8 and archive copies of both documents with the version number on your business computer. Then email the Emergency Plan Template and MBER Score Card to your Local MBER Coordinator. The coordinator will review and suggest revisions, if necessary, and provide an appropriate Certificate of Readiness (this process may vary by jurisdiction).
  5. Distribute the Emergency Plan: Whenever you have substantially revised your Emergency Plan (or periodically every 6 months), you should post the Plan in a central location on site, accessible to your staff, as well as distributing it to key stakeholders (e.g., all staff with emergency roles, key vendors, insurance agent, etc.) inside and outside your company who should get a copy (anyone who is involved in any way). Assign a new version number and effective date to your Emergency Plan Template (in the header) and the MBER Score Card. (See Versions and Archiving). Update section A7 and archive copies of the Plan with the version number on your business computer. Then email or mail copies of the Emergency Plan (You may want to delete unfinished sections first). You do not need to send everyone the Score Card.

Marin Business Emergency Readiness Program was developed by the Marin Economic Forum (MEF) and the Marin Disaster & Citizens Corps Council (DC3) for the benefit of the Marin business community. This program has been developed in Marin and pilot tested in Mill Valley to help Marin County businesses more thoughtfully prepare for, respond to and more quickly recover from major emergencies and local disasters (e.g., fires, storms/floods, earthquakes, pandemics).

If you have any questions, please contact the Local MBER Coordinator in your jurisdiction.


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