Predicting when or where a hurricane will strike in 2017 is virtually impossible. In the event that one strikes the west coast of Florida, businesses and their employees should have a plan ready.
Driving that message home was the goal of Manatee County’s business recovery expo at Manatee Technical College on Thursday. Hurricane season begins June 1 and businesses are encouraged to get ready by making a plan before the season starts.
“It’s also important for employees to have a personal disaster plan,” said Karen Stewart, Manatee County economic development official.
Example plans for different types of emergencies, such as flooding or hurricane, are available at ready.gov.
“Because even if a business is up and running, if employees can’t come to work, there’s still an impact on the business,” Stewart said.
Business emergency preparedness plans should include evacuation, lockdown and shelter-in-place plans, as well as how employees will communicate in the event of a cellular service outage during and after a disaster. Other parts of the plan include identifying a reliable warning system, preparing emergency supplies, protecting business assets and investments, including employees, and practicing the plan with them.
Manatee County offers several resources for business disaster preparedness, including the business recovery directory. Businesses can register for the directory and will be called upon during an emergency situation.
“The main purpose of this is to encourage businesses to have a plan,” Stewart said. “The primary reason for a business signing up is to help the area recover. We want to make sure businesses get back up and running quickly, the workforce can go back to work and local businesses are used in the recovery process.”
Servpro, a fire and water restoration company with offices in Bradenton, is often on the front lines of disaster recovery. The company provides 24-hour on-call service. During emergency situations, those residents or businesses with significant flooding or damage will take priority. But condominium associations or homeowner associations can call Servpro ahead of time to be placed on a priority list for service following the emergency response.
We encourage people to have a plan and know who you will call at 2 a.m.
Penelope Mabrey, a Servpro route development manager
“We encourage people to have a plan and know who you will call at 2 a.m.,” said Penelope Mabrey, Servpro route development manager.
“And have a backup plan on top of a plan,” said Chad Kerns, Servpro marketing manager. “You can never be too prepared.”
For more disaster preparedness information, visit mymanatee.org.