Florida SBDC Urges Businesses to Take Precautions for Tropical Storm Erika

Disaster Preparedness Assistance Available through SBA, FSBDC

FSBDCN State Office: Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis and Wilma are names not forgotten in Florida. These five hurricanes made landfall between August 2004 and October 2005, resulting in over $100 billion in damages and tens of thousands of businesses that never recovered.  In the wake of Tropical Storm Erika, the fifth named storm of an already active Atlantic hurricane season, the Florida SBDC Network is urging small businesses to take proper precautions to ensure recovery in the event of a disaster.

“As we remember the 10th anniversary of a hurricane season that devastated Florida, we are reminded of what can happen to a community when its businesses are destroyed and never recover,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. “Though it is too early to determine if Tropical Storm Erika will maintain its current course, and what intensity it will become, businesses should continue to monitor developments and have a disaster plan in place.”

The Florida SBDC Network, a participating organization in the State of Florida's Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry, provides education, training and assistance to small and medium sized businesses located in Florida at no cost. Through the Network’s Business Continuation Services, professionally certified business consultants are available to help businesses develop a comprehensive Business Continuity, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery Plan.

“Having a business continuity plan is essential to establishing a successful and resilient small business,” added Myhre. “The investment to create a disaster preparedness plan is small compared to the financial losses that may occur if there’s no plan in place.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to provide disaster assistance resources, including business continuity strategies and disaster preparedness checklists and templates. Additionally, in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign, SBA and Agility Recovery are offering a series of free webinars in September as part of National Preparedness Month (NPM). The 2015 NPM theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your Emergency Plan Today.”

The 30-minute webinars will be presented at 2 p.m. EDT every Wednesday:

  • September 9:   “The Keystone to Disaster Recovery: Communications”
  • September 16: “Recover from the Most Likely Disaster: Power Outage”
  • September 23: “Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: Prepare Your Employees”
  • September 30: “If You Do Nothing Else this Year…”

To register, or to view past webinars and other disaster assistance resources available through SBA and Agility Recovery’s “PrepareMyBusiness” website, click here.

Yesterday, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee was activated to a Level 2 partial activation in preparation for possible impacts from Tropical Storm Erika. The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) will continue to monitor the storm’s developments. Florida businesses can stay on top of the storm and access other online resources via the Florida Division of Emergency Management by clicking here.

In the event that the storm does impact the state, the Florida SBDC Network will deploy its Mobile Assistance Centers—equipped with laptops, printers, satellite communication, supplies, and more—and its team of Business Disaster Response Specialists to provide on-site assistance for impacted businesses.