From the CEO

Businesses have special requirements when it comes to hurricane preparedness | Indicators

By Sharon Hillstrom -

Special to the Herald-Tribune

June 26, 2023

About 25% of businesses do not reopen after disasters, according to With hurricane season upon us, having a disaster emergency plan and a continuity of operations plan in place can reduce that risk and help your business recover faster.

There are numerous resources for developing a disaster preparedness and recovery plan for your business. We think one of the best is offered by Florida Power & Light. Following are some key points to consider. (For more detail, visit

  • Determine if your business is in a flood and/or evacuation zone and review evacuation routes. If appropriate, identify a temporary emergency site. You can check FEMA’s flood maps to determine if your business location is vulnerable to storm surge or freshwater flooding.
  • Have your building(s) inspected by a licensed professional to find out if your workplace is vulnerable to hurricane-force winds. Consider retrofitting your facility based on recommendations from that assessment.
  • Create a hurricane plan for your business. Update this plan annually and review it with your team to facilitate recovery efforts. Include action items such as reopening plans, pre- and post-storm staffing lists, storm training materials and contact lists.
  • Prepare for potential power outages by updating the phone number and email address on your FPL account. Consider having a generator installed at your facility, particularly if your operations require refrigeration. If you have a generator, be sure to stock up on fuel.
  • If you plan to take shelter at your business, establish a safe area located away from exterior windows and doors.
  • Determine staffing and materials you need to secure your building and important equipment.
  • Decide who will help secure your facility, outline specific tasks for those employees and conduct training sessions throughout the year.
  • Consider helping employees and their families with supplies post-storm.
  • Review your insurance coverage, and photograph or videotape your building or office – inside and outside. Remember to document and inventory equipment and supplies, as well as your building’s physical state.
  • Have copies of insurance policies and the associated contact information, including phone numbers and emails.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage. That may include, but is not limited to, Business Interruption Insurance, Accounts Receivable and Valuable Papers Coverage as well as Income Destruction Insurance and Flood Insurance.
  • Have your business appraised at least every five years.
  • Ensure your employees’ contact information is up-to-date and have a plan to communicate with them after a storm passes. Consider setting up a telephone number with a recorded message that will be regularly updated to inform employees of the status of company operations following a storm.
  • Establish a rendezvous point and time for employees in case communications are disrupted.
  • Prepare a list of vendors to provide disaster recovery services.
  • Consider developing a system to authorize re-entry to company facilities after a storm, e.g. ID cards, vehicle permits, etc.

Here is a handy reference from the state of Florida to assist in your planning: <a href=””></a>. For information on sales tax holidays for related purchases, visit <a href=””></a>

Encourage your employees to address their personal preparations to keep themselves and their families safe. The state’s website can help: <a href=””></a>

Planning and preparation are essential for helping your business through a disaster, including the impacts of a hurricane. Now is the time to prepare.


Sharon Hillstrom is president and chief executive officer of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. ( She may be contacted at or 803-9036.

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Lauren Kratsch

Lauren Kratsch

Senior Director Business Relations

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