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Disaster Preparation

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The 2020 hurricane season begins June 1st and stretches to November 30th - the time to prepare your business is now!!! This season a total of 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes are expected - a storm with maximum sustained wind speeds greater than 130 mph. Roughly 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster. Having a plan can ensure that you are back in business quickly and permanently.

The City of Fort Lauderdale, Economic and Community Investment Division (ECI), endeavors to provide information on developing your Continuity Plan and connecting you to resources designed to help your business to survive and mitigate impact after disaster strikes.

Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Preparedness Center



Disaster planning and preparedness is your lifeline to stay in business.






Natural disasters often strike with little to no warning, but the operational and economic impacts to businesses can be devastating. Preparation is the best defense against these disasters, and the time for preparing is now – before disaster strikes. All businesses should have a Business Continuity Plan and a disaster recovery plan to address crisis situations.







Identify the most serious threats to your business by focusing on what disruptions are most likely to happen, and the impacts that can occur on your business. Now is the time to review or prepare a Business Continuity Plan. You are in South Florida, if your business plan does not include how to deal with water, you are not prepared!





"A Business Continuity Plan is an essential factor of a small company’s long-term success and will contribute to the community’s economic recovery in the aftermath of a disaster.”
- Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

A Continuity Plan outlines the actions your business will take to protect your employees and business functions so that you can maintain or quickly resume operations after a disruption. An effective Business Continuity Management Plan includes:

  1. Designate your continuity planning and crisis response team – assign responsibilities
  2. Identify your local partners and resources
  3. Assess your risks and actions you can take to mitigate them
  4. Analyze possible impacts to employees, facilities, equipment, and operations - develop specific strategies to mitigate and prepare for them
    • Worksite and workforce policies
    • Life safety and emergency action plans
    • Restoring critical business functions
    • Financial and human resource needs
  5. Create a crisis communications plan for sharing information with internal and external stakeholders in an emergency
  6. Organize and compile important documents:
    • Vital business records
    • Employee information
    • Customer and vendor information
    • IT, equipment and other asset documentation and records
  7. Establish a process for testing and updating your plans There are several valuable resources to assist you with the development of your Business Continuity Plan, including step-by-step, comprehensive Continuity Plan templates:




 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)


The SBA offers resources that can help small businesses develop a plan to protect their employees, lessen the financial impact of disasters, and re-open for business quickly to support the economic recovery of the community. When a disaster hits your small business, first contact FEMA. They can provide money for housing along with other personal expenses including food, clothing and medicine. Apply for FEMA financial assistance

The SBA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide low-interest loans for damaged and destroyed assets in a declared disaster. These include repair and replacement costs for real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory, and business assets. Links to SBA resources are below:




Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

For 38 years, FEMA's mission remains: To lead America to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from disasters with a vision of "A Nation Prepared." Since its creation, FEMA has remained committed to protecting and serving the American people and the belief in that mission will never change.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

The FEMA main site has information on what to do before, during, and after a disaster.




 Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC)


The Florida SBDC at Florida Atlantic University helps businesses access state and federal disaster recovery loans and additional business continuity services. The Florida SBDC at FAU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida, and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network's lead host institution.

Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a wide range of resources for businesses, including creating a plan and preparing a business-ready “records-to-go” box, to help your business be ready when disaster strikes.






FloridaMakes is an industry-led public-private initiative operated by Florida’s Regional Manufacturers Associations in partnership with industry, research, educational and economic development organizations, both public and private, at the state and national levels. Its mission is to improve the productivity and technological performance of Florida manufacturers by accelerating technology adoption, talent development, and business growth, and to strengthen the state’s high-wage manufacturing economy. FloridaMakes, through its participating partners, provides services that are customized to meet the needs and opportunities of individual companies. The local arm of FloridaMakes is the South Florida Manufacturers Association, serving manufacturers in the Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Saint Lucie, Okeechobee, Monroe and Indian River counties. FloridaMakes resources includes:



Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA)



FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s $111.7 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected



Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF)

Marine Industries


MIASF is the largest marine trade organization in the Southeast United States dedicated to promoting, protecting, and growing the 111,000 middle class jobs in Broward County and 142,000 jobs regionally in marine businesses promoting boating lifestyles from family cruising and fishing to yachts and the goods and services that sustain them, driving the economic output to $8.9 billion in Broward County and $12 billion regionally. The Association has over 500 members in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties and is the owner of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The MIASF Website is a great resource for the marine industry and those who like to follow it.



Stay Safe and Informed After a Disaster

  • Fort Lauderdale Disaster Contact Information and Resources - Hurricane Hotline: 954-828-8888
  • Return home only when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Inspect your home. Call your insurance company if you have sustained damage.
  • Stay off the streets. Do not drive until local authorities tell you it is safe
  • Report damaged water mains and sewer lines or blocked storm drains to 954-828-8000.
  • Stay away from all downed power lines and report them to FPL at 1-800-468-8243.
  • Stay away from standing water as there may be live power lines below.
  • Use telephones only for emergency purposes.
  • Never drive through flooded streets.
  • Monitor local media for boil water alerts.
  • Throw away spoiled food and personal items that have been in contact with flood waters.
  • Never use a generator indoors.
  • Use caution when clearing debris. Wear protective clothing and keep children/pets inside.

Intelligence for world-class business and investment success is available at our Business Resource Center.