The statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Department of Labor regarding small business recovery after a natural disaster are frightening. Immediately after a disaster, 40 percent of small businesses will not reopen. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately, and confidently in the hours and days after a disaster. Stakeholders, employees and their families, customers, news media, neighbors, investors, suppliers and others, must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. Here are three resources your business can use to prepare for a disaster:
FloridaDisaster.biz is a partnership between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM). The website features a Disaster Planning Toolkit for businesses, outlines re-entry procedures for the private sector, has a Business Damage Assessment Form, and has information about Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and other disaster-related financial assistance.
FEMA has developed the Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit, to help provide businesses with the steps to self-assessment, to address preparation, develop a plan, mitigate risks, take action and return businesses to operation following a disaster. After completion of the program, businesses have an opportunity to apply for recognition as a member of the Ready Business Community.
The Florida Small Business Development Center, through their Business Continuation Services program, offers consulting at no cost, and training events to help your business minimize losses and prepare for a disaster. The organization even offers a free mobile disaster assistance app called Bizaster, available from the App Store or Google Play. In the event of a disaster, professional certified business consultants, whom are Disaster Recover Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, can assist affected businesses apply for state and federal disaster loans, as well as other post-disaster challenges, at no-cost.
If you have further questions regarding preparing your business for a natural disaster, contact Largo Economic Development at 727-586-7360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org