Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, urges small businesses to prepare for Hurricane Elsa, the first hurricane of the 2021 season.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Elsa has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and is tracking west-northwest through the Windward Islands at 29 mph. The storm could impact Florida early next week and businesses are urged to make preparations.
“We are working alongside state officials to closely monitor Hurricane Elsa,” said Greg Britton, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “While there is still uncertainty regarding the storm’s potential path and impact, businesses should take the time now to prepare. Elsa and this year’s hurricane season bring renewed challenges to our businesses and communities after the impacts of COVID-19, so it’s important now more than ever to prepare.”
- Businesses should pay close attention to the storm’s forecast over the holiday weekend. The National Hurricane Center issues regular public advisories at Hurricanes.gov.
- During this time, it’s important for businesses to review their disaster and emergency communication plans.
- Businesses should backup all data on servers and personal computers and ensure remote access is available.
- Businesses should ensure equipment is raised above potential flood levels.
- Businesses should take time to review their insurance policies to mitigate any possible gaps in coverage.
- We also encourage businesses to protect and duplicate important business documents and records. Be sure they are accessible from anywhere.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network helps small businesses prepare for and recover from disasters.
Through the network’s service offering, professionally certified business consultants can help small business owners develop business continuity, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery plans at no cost. The network also has preparedness plan templates and resources available on our website.
As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources.
Depending on the storm’s severity and impact, the Florida SBDC Network’s team of disaster specialists will be available to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications.
Florida SBDCs also offer online and in-person educational training on disaster preparedness, tips, and resources.
- For more information regarding the Florida SBDC’s preparedness and recovery services and Bizaster app, please click here.
- For a list of preparedness resources, including the Small Business Disaster Preparedness Guide, please click here.
- www.FloridaDisaster.org – The state’s official source of information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
- www.FloridaDisaster.biz – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website to provide businesses access to critical information before, during, and after a disaster.
- For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.