Are we ready for hurricane season?

May 20, 2013 

The official hurricane season is June 1 through Nov. 30, and every year there are named storms and predictions. Each of us has a personal responsibility to have our homes and businesses prepared.

Disasters can hit the economy hard and with tourism being the number one industry in Manatee County we must embrace the concept of year-round preparedness and be able to jump back quickly for the good of our community.

If you think about it, we are focused on preparations for hurricane season, but emergency preparedness can help a business survive when any kind of disaster strikes.

American businesses form the backbone of the nation's economy. Small business alone employs half of all private sector workers and provides nearly 45 percent of the nation's payroll.

According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year.

The U.S. Small Business Administration statistics suggest that more than90 percent of businesses fail within two years following the impact of a disaster.

How quickly yourbusiness can get back after a terrorist attack, fire, flood, tornado or hurricane often depends on emergency planning done today.

Though each situationis unique, your business can be better prepared if you plan carefully,put emergency procedures in place and practice forall kinds of emergencies.

To survive, business owners must take steps to minimize and weather the effects of a disaster. The first step is understanding your business's vulnerabilities.

Big events such as wide area flooding or a hurricane certainly make the top of the disasters list. However, smaller events such as burglary or water damage due to a faulty roof or plumbing can have the same catastrophic result.

The second step is to determine the varying impacts to your business. This will support your third step of developing a plan.

I urge you to take the time to conduct your own research for information that supports your unique business safety and security.

At the start of everyhurricane season, various businesses -- including grocery stores, building supply or home improvement centers, pharmacies and insurance carriers -- produce volumes of literature to assist your personal and home preparations.

Unfortunately, complacency is common in today's society, so let's not

allow complacency to cost us our lives and businesses.

Please, focus now so we are prepared for the next six months.

For information, visit: www.mymanatee.org/emergency, www.floridadisaster.org, www.ready.gov, and www.tbrpc.org.

For additional information on the destination,visit www.BradentonGulfIslands.com.

We also invite you to follow us on Facebook at "Visit Bradenton Gulf Islands" and Twitter @VisitBradenton.

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177 ext. 222.

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