Are you ready for hurricane season?

June 23, 2014 

It's the time of year when we need to prepare our community and ourselves for Hurricane Season, a season that if not prepared, can cause devastation and loss of life if a major storm impacts our area.

Although our community has not experienced catastrophic devastation from a major storm, we must find the time to prepare ourselves, our families and our businesses now. A complacent mindset will no doubt, be detrimental, so let's take hurricane season seriously. Remember the damages from Tropical Storm Debbie? Imagine if we encounter a hurricane in our community and we are unprepared.

If we take the time to develop and implement an emergency preparedness plan, then our businesses can 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 US Small Business Administration statistics suggest that over 90 percent of businesses fail within two years following a disaster.

How quickly your business can get back after a terrorist attack, fire, flood, tornado, or hurricane often depends on emergency planning done today. Though each situation is unique, your business can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place and practice for all 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 listing of disasters. However, smaller events such as burglary or water damage from 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 time to conduct your own research for information that supports your unique business safety and security. At the start of every Hurricane 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, dedicate time now to prepare for the next six months.

For more information, please 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 & Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177 ext. 222.

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