Preparedness of small to medium-sized enterprises to earthquake disaster: Napier and Dunedin case studies

Temitope Egbelakin, Mani Poshdar*, Kevin Q. Walsh, Jason Ingham, David Johnston, Julia Becker, Jasper Mbachu, Eziaku Rasheed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are often vulnerable to the adversities caused by major earthquake events, which may include business disruption, damage to goods and property, impaired employee health and safety, financial strain and loss of revenue, or even total loss of the business. SMEs are expected to make critical decisions to prepare their businesses for an earthquake, in an attempt to ensure business continuity and the wellbeing of their employees, should a disaster occur. This study was conducted five years after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes and sought to examine the level of earthquake preparedness of SMEs by investigating the actions undertaken in two different suburban locations having differing seismicity. The extent of preparedness was assessed based on a list of twenty-one possible actions grouped into four categories being knowledge enrichment, insurance and business continuity, survival support actions, and seismic damage mitigation. The assessment involved a survey with an online questionnaire. Analysis of the collected data revealed a specific adoption pattern in the regions of study. The main preparedness action adopted by SMEs was the purchase of business insurance with the development of continuity plans. The least obtained preparedness action was related to survival support actions such as maintaining necessary emergency supplies. The overall adoption rate of the preparedness actions was less than 30%, with no significant difference between the regions studied, and close to 50% of SMEs having adopted less than five preparedness actions. This situation clearly requires urgent attention from all stakeholders involved in SMEs resilience before an earthquake disaster hits the regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalBulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018


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