Businesses need to be prepared for hurricane season
BY DIANNE GROSS
The Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College urges small businesses to prepare for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
According to a June 4 updated forecast by Colorado State University, the season is predicted to be above normal with 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major ones.
In 2019, Florida faced multiple threats and one close catastrophe with Hurricane Dorian, but no official landfalls impacted the state.
The development center encourages businesses to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season by developing a disaster preparedness plan. Businesses should consider several elements in preparing for a disaster. Not only is it important to protect staff, their building, data, and inventory, it is also critical to prepare a plan to continue operations following the disaster.
A good plan may include provisions to relocate to a pre-identified site; retrieve data, including employee, customer and vendor records; and develop a way to operate efficiently with a smaller staff of key individuals. Businesses are also strongly encouraged to back up data and ensure they have access to important files, such as tax records, legal, and financial documents.
• Florida SBDC’s Business Continuation services and Bizaster app:
• The state’s official source of general and specific information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management:
• The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website for access to critical information before, during and after a disaster: www.FloridaDisaster.biz
• Small Business Administration for a hurricane preparedness checklist:
“Because the business community is already engaged in new COVID-related procedures — masks, social distancing and new safety measures in retail establishments — a whole new layer to the normal routine in preparation for hurricane season has been added,” SBDC marketing specialist Katie Muldoon said. “Florida business owners have already started backing up files and setting up contingency plans to reopen due to COVID-19 — which is helping businesses be better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.”
The development center is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of higher education and economic development to serve the needs of aspiring and existing small businesses. As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function 18 for Business and Industry, the Florida SBDC Network is a key economic development organization that supports disaster preparedness, recovery and mitigation through its business continuation services.
Through the network’s service offering, professionally certified business consultants can help small business owners develop comprehensive business continuity, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery plans at no cost. As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC also offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists and other resources.
In the event of a disaster, Florida SBDC disaster specialists are available to help businesses prepare disaster loan applications. It will also deploy its mobile assistance centers into communities for affected businesses to receive on-site assistance with disaster loans and other post-disaster challenges.
Florida SBDCs also offer online and in-person educational training on disaster preparedness, tips and resources.
Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Magazine Inc. For more information or to report news email [email protected]