About the Help Desk

Every aspect of a disaster is stressful. Planning in advance can go a long way to mitigate a company’s risk of loss due to a disaster. 

But, on top of everything else small-business owners have to fit into their day, planning for something that might not happen is not always the top priority. 

We get it. 

However, we’ve seen far too many business owners and leaders have to endure the financial and mental stress of overcoming a disaster. In 2007, we created the Disaster Help Desk for Business as a tool for the business owners who want to take command of the risks. 

The Disaster Help Desk is also for small businesses that need a support system because they’ve experienced a disaster. Our experts have recovery resources and advice ready to help.  

Disaster Business by the Numbers

  • 30 million small businesses operate in the United States.
  • 19.6 million workers are employed by U.S. small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
  • 25% of small businesses will be struck by a disaster.
  • 43% of them won’t re-open.
  • 25% of those that re-open will have to close permanently within two years due to disaster repercussions.

FACT: In 2017, 77% of Disaster Help Desk users were small businesses in the retail or service (hotels, restaurants, etc.) sectors.

Become a Ready Business

Minimizing risks doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. And, preparedness pays off. 

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to disaster risks, and it can be difficult to know what you as a business owner should do about them. However, there are clear steps that can be taken before a disaster and there are resources available to help you after disasters strike -- and, the Disaster Help Desk team walks you through each one. 

The Disaster Help Desk is well connected to a nationwide network of disaster-assistance providers, including the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), and local/regional emergency management associations.

While it can be confusing to know how to engage with assistance providers on the local, state, and national level, the Disaster Help Desk team is dedicated to providing straightforward and helpful answers.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation is on a mission to ensure that every business and chamber of commerce is adequately prepared before, during, and after disasters.

The Disaster Help Desk for Business Team 

Marc DeCourcey is highly experienced in matters related to disaster mitigation and disaster relief and recovery, including aiding communities affected by disasters as well as advocating for public policies that make us a more disaster resilient nation. He is Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Foundation, where he leads the Corporate Citizenship Center and oversees all CCC programming and issue management, including disaster resiliency.

 

 

The Help Desk is managed by Inés Pearce, an award-winning disaster preparedness and mitigation expert who has been inducted into the Contingency Planning & Management Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Disaster Response and Community Resilience program, which houses the Disaster Help Desk for Business, is managed by Brooks Nelson, a 10-year Chamber Foundation employee and a former member of President George W. Bush’s administration in the USA Freedom Corps civic-engagement initiative. In times of disaster, Brooks coordinates private-sector relief and recovery assistance.

 

 

 

As communications manager of the U.S. Chamber Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, Sara Napolitano supports the Disaster Help Desk by reaching out to the small-business community for preparedness and mitigation efforts and by communicating through news media and partnership organizations when private-sector assistance is available to small businesses and communities that are facing disasters.