Below is a chart illustrating both the traditional and non-traditional economic development professional role in the event of a disaster.  It includes additional responsibilities in the event of a disaster as well as what they should be doing to ensure their business community is better prepared. A clear understanding of these roles & responsibilities will assist the professional in helping to spur economic recovery in their disaster-impacted community.

Economic Development Professional Role


Pre-Disaster Role

Post-Disaster Role


  • Understand how possible disasters could impact local businesses /industries
  • Understand current conditions/damage to critical industries, businesses, property and infrastructure
  • Assess impacts on long-term viability of businesses/industries
  • Provide cost/benefit analysis of recovery projects


  • Establish Business Recovery Task Force to work on preparedness activities
  • Participate in Business Recovery Task Force to identify immediate and long-term recovery efforts
  • Garner input and support for critical recovery initiatives
  • Update strategic plans to match current realities

Gap Filler

  • Outreach to public and private institutions about setting up a bridge loan program for a disaster event
  • Conduct concerted outreach to reconnect with businesses and identify at-risk companies
  • Assist with bridge-loan financing until SBA loan approval
  • Provide business recovery assistance and services
  • Develop programs/intiatives as needed to support long-term recovery


  • Advocate for mitigation and preparedness efforts
  • Advocate for tiered business re-entry procedures
  • Address impacts/adequacy of community’s emergency management plan from businesses’ perspective
  • Seek funding opportunities for recovery initiatives
  • Communicate priorities and need for policy changes to state and federal leaders


  • Educate small businesses on business continuity planning
  • Educate business community on community’s emergency management plan
  • Facilitate flow of accurate info to businesses
  • Communicate “open for business” and “we need help and resources” messages
  • Develop and distribute a disaster recovery guide


  • Engage key stakeholders in visioning process to identify scenarios for post-disaster redevelopment
  • Envision how community can build back stronger, more resilient
  • Connect public/private resources for building back a more resilient community 


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