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Worst-Case Scenario

How would your business take a September 11-level tragedy? Only the best preparation can ensure it rises from the rubble.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon on September 11, the 37employees at Children's World Learning Center, thePentagon's day-care facility, knew exactly what to do. Theycalmly led the kids out of their building, situated near thePentagon, to a safe location. It turns out that these day-careemployees were just following the evacuation drill they practiceonce a month. Even though confusion was all around them, theyremained "pretty calm, as far as what to do," saysShirley Allen, the day-care center's director. "It helpeda lot in a real emergency."

As Allen knows, a little planning can save lives. But GartnerInc. estimates only 25 to 35 percent of small companies have adisaster management plan, compared to 85 percent of largebusinesses. Even worse, Gartner estimates that two out of fivecompanies that are hit by disaster go out of business within fiveyears. The following tips may save lives, as well as yourbusiness.

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