FFL Disaster Preparedness Considerations

During the course of a natural disaster, businesses of all types face challenges. The considerations contained within this document, although not exhaustive, highlight areas of consideration specific to Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs).

First and foremost, businesses facing disaster should follow Federal, State, and local authority’s guidance and safety recommendations. The safety of not only business employees, but first responders in the area post disaster should always be your first priority.

The FFL Disaster Preparedness Considerations are provided as part of a three-document series for before, during, and after a disaster. This document highlights considerations for FFL businesses prior to a disaster occurring; per ATF Publication 3317.7, it is recommended all FFLs have a Disaster Preparedness Plan.  If your FFL has already experienced a disaster, please see FFL Post Disaster Considerations and FFL Business Disaster Tracking Tool.

  • Firearm Inventory
    • Close out and record into A&D Book any pending acquisitions or dispositions (shipments, receipts, newly manufactured firearms, etc.) to assure A&D Book reflects complete and accurate documentation of all firearms on premises, including firearms pending repair, shipment, or other service.
    • It is further suggested FFLs assure they have a complete financial inventory of all firearms. Provide all relevant persons, including those interacting with insurance providers, access to these records for retrieval offsite.
  • A&D / Bound Book
    • Digital Book
      • Per ATF Ruling 2016-1, all FFLs must maintain a digital copy of A&D / Bound Book. In addition to ATF Ruling requirements, it is recommended at least one responsible person for the FFL be provided a complete, up to date copy of all A&D Book(s) for retrieval offsite.
    • Paper Book
      • Per ATF Publication 3317.7, if a disaster is imminent, contact ATF to seek approval to remove all business records to a safe location.
      • Whenever practical, it is suggested copies of all A&D / Bound Books be provided to at least one responsible person for the FFL; at minimum, it is recommended copies of all open dispositions be provided. 
  • Firearms Records
    • Create a Record Location Log with a complete list of all stored, regulated documents (ATF Forms 4473, 3310.6, etc.), including number of boxes and, if possible, the dates of records they contain.
    • Save digital images/documents, in a water/fire safe container, for retrieval offsite. Assure these documents may be accessed by all necessary person(s).
    • Per ATF Publication 3317.7, if a disaster is imminent, contact ATF to seek approval to remove all business records to a safe location.
    • Store all firearm records in an elevated area, so they are unlikely to become wet in instances of flooding. If possible, secure records in water/fire proof containers.
  • Security
    • Secure all firearms on premises in vault or safe, if available. If firearms cannot be stored in vault or safe, store firearms in most secure area of premises, and consider adding additional protections including locks and reinforcements.
    • Unless required for safety reasons, if boarding windows and doors, assure boarding does not damage or render security system features inactive.
    • Determine if your security system has:
      • A backup battery
        • If yes, how long can you expect the battery to keep the system operational, and at what level?
      • A backup cell line
        • If yes, can you remotely monitor your system if it’s operating on back up cell service?
        • Keep in mind, if cellular services are offline for any reason, your alarm system will no longer be capable of sending alert signals to you or authorities.
      • Speak with your security system monitoring provider and ask how company will be responding during potential disaster.
        • How will calls be answered?
        • How will authorities be notified?
        • Will authorities always be notified of alarms?
        • How will life of back up battery, if in use, be monitored?
        • Will back-up batteries be replaced if exhausted? Are there additional fees?
        • How will monitoring company determine and notify business’s point of contact if system is offline and/or an alarm is tripped?
        • Provide contact information, including landline number, for business’s point of contact.
  • Call Tree
    • Create a Call Tree to notify all relevant employees, vendors, and security providers of your business operations status, and any potential security or structural issues. Assure you include landline numbers, if available, in case of cell outage.
  • Pre-Arrange Conference Calls
    • Consider pre-arranging specific times and dates for group status updates and check-ins, and distribute to all necessary participants. This allows relevant persons a known time and means to communicate, should other means of communication become impaired.
  • Notify Local Authorities
    • Consider notifying local Police (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations regarding your business’s disaster preparedness, and the number and types of firearms on premises prior to evacuating. Request specific contact information for person(s) that may assist FFLs if an incident should occur, and provide contact information for a responsible person for your FFL, including a landline number.
  • Notify ATF National Tracing Center
    • Notify ATF National Tracing Center of business operations status and/or any temporary relocation, and provide contact information, including landline number, for an FFL responsible person.

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