WASHINGTON (9/15/09)—The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security jointly announced the availability of a preparedness guide to assist small businesses to plan for the possibility of an H1N1 flu outbreak this fall. When unveiling the guide to reporters, SBA Administrator Karen Mills underscored the importance of flu preparedness for small businesses. “Small business owners should take the time to create a plan, talk with their employees and make sure they are prepared for flu season,” said Mills. “For countless small businesses, having even one or two employees out for a few days has the potential to negatively impact operations and their bottom line. A thoughtful plan will help keep employees and their families healthy, as well as protect small businesses and local economies.” The preparedness guide offers small business employers tools and information to help plan for varying levels of severity of an H1N1 outbreak— which may lead to increased absenteeism, and, if the outbreak becomes more severe, may include restricted service capabilities and supply chain disruptions.