Planning for Businesses
A disaster of any size could have an impact on your business. Taking the steps to build a business disaster continuity plan and encourage your employees to create a family emergency plan can reduce the impact on your business. It is important to consider how a disaster could affect your employees, customers and workplace. How would you manage your business if access to the workplace is limited by roads closures, streets are impassable, or communication is limited?
During a disaster, safety is the main concern. Businesses are encouraged to review their Business Continuity Plan to ensure the information is up to date and employees are all aware of the plan and their responsibilities. It is important to monitor relevant emergency management news for weather and safety updates. In case an evacuation is ordered, businesses owners should secure their businesses and follow instructions by local emergency management on evacuation orders. Remember, if your local emergency management officials order an evacuation and you make a decision to remain in your business, emergency responders will not be able to respond to you during the disaster. You, and your employees, will be on your own until the storm passes and first responders are able to secure the area.
Safety is the first priority when re-entering your business in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Follow instructions from local emergency management for when it is safe to return to the area and what safety measures should be taken into account.
If you are able to re-enter your facility and the damage is minor, make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and to minimize further damage. Take photographs or video of all damage prior to making repairs for future business damage assessments. Contact your insurance company immediately and make arrangements to meet an adjustor as soon as possible. Only hire licensed contractors certified by the local jurisdiction and State of Florida to do repairs. If the contractor requests you pull the permit, it may be an indication that he is not properly licensed and is not entitled to permitting privileges.
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When local emergency management officials, law enforcement and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) have determined the area is safe and secure for the private sector to re-enter following a disaster the focus will shift to the recovery of the community. Once you are able to return to your business location it is important to document the damage sustained during the disaster. Economic assistance for the private sector may be available based on the magnitude of the disaster and overall economic impact to the community.
Businesses are encouraged to complete the online Business Damage Assessment tool available on the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (VBEOC) located on the FLVBEOC website. This information will provide valuable economic impact information to the Department of Economic Opportunity and SERT leadership.
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