Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, urges small businesses to prepare for Hurricane Isaias, which, as of Friday afternoon, is a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.
Heavy rains are forecast to begin affecting south and east-central Florida Saturday with conditions worsening throughout the day. There is a risk of the impact spreading north along the east coast through early next week. Today, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida’s east coast counties from Miami-Dade to Nassau.
“We are working alongside state officials to closely monitor Hurricane Isaias,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “While there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding the storm and its potential impact, businesses should take the time now to prepare. Isaias and this year’s hurricane season bring about new challenges as businesses and communities are already strained in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, so it’s important now more than ever to prepare.”
Small businesses are encouraged to take time now to prepare for the storm. Businesses should consider several elements in preparing for a disaster. Not only is it important to protect the staff, building, data, and inventory of a company, it is also critical to prepare a plan to continue operations following the disaster. Additional preparedness tips for businesses are listed below.
- Businesses should pay close attention to the storm’s forecast over the weekend. The National Hurricane Center releases a new full advisory every 6 hours, at 5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm EDT. They are issuing intermediate advisories every 3 hours, between the full advisories (1am, 8am, 1pm, 8pm EDT.)
- During this time, it’s important for businesses to review their disaster and emergency communication plans.
- Businesses should backup all data on servers and personal computers and ensure remote access is available.
- Businesses should ensure equipment is raised above potential flood levels.
- We encourage businesses to review their insurance policies to mitigate any possible gaps in coverage.
- We also encourage businesses to protect and duplicate important business documents and records. Be sure they are accessible from anywhere.
We’re here to help.
Established in 1976, the Florida SBDC Network has more than 40 offices from Pensacola to Key West. As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & 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. The network also has preparedness plan templates and resources available on its website.
As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC 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 help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications. The network 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.
For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.