Florida’s Small Businesses Should Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

As Floridians, we all know and accept the reality that we live in a hurricane-prone state. Florida’s geographic location makes our state one of the most exposed places in the world to tropical windstorms and hurricanes. Of the 180 hurricanes that have made landfall in the continental United States since 1900, 65 have landed in Florida – the most of any state in the nation.

While it’s been nearly 10 years since the last major hurricane landfall, Florida businesses cannot rely on luck. Between 2004 and 2005, Hurricanes Charley, Dennis, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne and Wilma hit Florida and caused more than $70 billion in damages. In addition, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused $25 billion in damages to Florida – equating to more than double that in today’s dollars.

Why should small businesses be prepared?

When hurricane force storms hit our state, the impact to families and businesses can be devastating. Businesses face evacuation orders that require a shut down in operations, a temporary loss of their workforce and even damage to their headquarters that hinders production- sometime indefinitely. In order for businesses to continue their operations, Florida has a wealth of resources- especially for small businesses that may not have the capacity to deal with an extended shut down.

Take for example, AppRiver’s Digital Disaster Preparedness Program, a service designed to protect and preserve email traffic. The cloud-based service averts email downtime by redirecting an organization’s email to one of AppRiver`s secure data centers in the event of a natural catastrophe. Once the danger passes and connectivity is restored, AppRiver will forward all outage-period email back to the company`s server, free of charge.

“This service was designed to protect business email during an outage and help companies get up and running again as quickly as possible,” said Michael Murdoch, CEO of AppRiver. “Email is critical and a business shouldn’t have to lose important messages even in the midst a natural disaster.”

For small businesses that require a more serious need, the state of Florida offers an Emergency Bridge Loan Program, activated by the Governor in the event of a disaster. The Small Business Administration also offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to replace or restore items in the event of a declared disaster.

The Florida Chamber encourages your businesses to come up with work continuity plans in the case of a natural emergency. FloridaDisaster.org has resources that can help small businesses. For more information on how the Florida Chamber is advocating for small businesses, please contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com.