Hurricane season officially started June 1, and planning ahead for a disaster can save business owners thousands of dollars in lost revenue due to structural damage, content damage, interruption of operations and employee displacement.
Volusia County officials note that 40 percent of businesses never reopen their doors post-disaster. If you prepare well for the season, you will have a much better chance of being in the other 60 percent.
Emergency officials urge business owners to prepare their business with the Volusia Prepares Business program checklist.
Plan and prepare your business
Review property insurance to determine if you have adequate hazard, flood, wind and business interruption insurance.
Video- and photo-document your property, vehicles and inventory before and after the disaster to assist with verifying insurance and tax credit claims.
Determine what emergency equipment and supplies are needed to protect and repair your business.
Establish plans to protect computers and back up your files. Store backup files in an alternate location.
Assemble insurance policies, financial records, inventories and other important documents. Make duplicates, and store them in alternate safe places.
Move files and equipment to higher elevations.
Shutter windows, and sandbag doors. Cover sensitive equipment.
Have a generator ready as a backup until power is restored.
Prepare your employees
Encourage your employees to create a family emergency plan — the sooner they take care of their personal preparations, the quicker they can help prepare your business.
Know the community’s evacuation plan and evacuation routes.
Create a Crisis Communication Plan to communicate with customers, suppliers and employees.
Develop an employee alert roster to notify employees during nonworking hours about the status of business operations.
Protect employees, and only schedule essential personnel during the storm.
After the storm
Arrange alternate payroll methods for your employees with your banking institution after the disaster.
Retain a list of emergency support phone numbers for various needs, and distribute it to your employees.
Apply for disaster assistance — money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.
Update your plan quarterly, and be sure all existing employees and new hires understand the plan.
Every effort will be made to allow evacuees to return to their homes and businesses as quickly as possible. Re-entry to evacuated areas will be authorized based on public safety, security and operational needs of search and rescue teams.
The re-entry policy will be established as soon as possible and with as few restrictions as possible.
More about assistance providers
American Red CrossThe American Red Cross is the community’s first line of defense for local disasters. Your American Red Cross can assist with immediate emergency needs (food, clothing and shelter) caused by a disaster. Call Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross at 386-226-1400.
2-1-1 / First Call for HelpA service provided by the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, 2-1-1 lets you access free information about services in the community.
Florida Department of Health in Volusia CountyThe Health Department urges residents to be cautious following a storm and has information about how to stay safe in flooded areas, mold cleanup tips, mosquito precautions, and water-testing kits for homeowners with submerged wells. For more information, call the Environmental Health Office at 386-822-6250 or visit www.volusiahealth.com.
Federal disaster assistance.
In the most severe disasters, the federal government is called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.
FEMA assistance is available online at www.fema.gov or 800-621-FEMA (3362). Hearing- or speech-impaired individuals can call 800-462-7585 (TTY).