• Disaster Preparedness

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    We know business owners put out proverbial fires on a daily basis - but what if your business really did experience a fire? What if your office flooded or a hurricane struck your store? Would you be prepared? No one likes to think about such devastating circumstances, but being proactive and developing a plan will help you bounce back quicker, and sometimes even stronger.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, up to 25 percent of small businesses never reopen following a disaster. When disaster strikes, having a plan and being able to put it into immediate action can ensure that you’re back in business quickly and able to provide products and services to your customers, regardless of the type or scale of interruption.

    Preparedness begins with creating a continuity plan that meets the needs of your business. We have provided basic guidelines to help businesses of any size develop a business continuity plan. The resources on this page are intended to help Miramar and Pembroke Pines area businesses prepare for various types of crises and minimize the impact of those crises on their operations.

    Incident Action Plan

    https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1822-25045-1815/incident_action_planning_guide_1_26_2012.pdf

    http://www.ct.gov/demhs/lib/demhs/eppi/sample_ics_documents_hurricane_ex.pdf

    Crisis Communications Plan

    https://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/crisis

    http://nma.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Crisis-Communications-Template.pdf

    Business Interruption Planning Resources

    https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/disaster-preparedness-and-recovery-quick-guides/small-business-preparedness

    http://disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/OFB-EZ_Toolkit_IBHS.pdf

    Business Recovery Resources

    https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/node/43168

    https://www.score.org/disaster-preparedness-recovery

    Other Recovery Resources

    Small Business Recovery Guide by the US Chamber of Commerce - When a disaster occurs, businesses must take care of their employees' needs, communicate the impact, address financial matters (e.g., insurance, disaster assistance), restore operations, and organize recovery.

    Florida Emergency Management Division - Website provides a list of various federal agencies with programs to help you recover from disasters.

    U.S. Small Business Administration - SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes to repair or replace damaged or destroyed business assets (property, equipment, inventory, etc.)

    U.S. Economic Development Administration  - EDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have funds to be used for establishing local, post-disaster revolving loan programs. A list of federal agencies and their economic development-related programs provides more information.

    IRS - Offers tax relief to businesses affected by federally declared disasters.

    DisasterAssistance.gov - Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services and a mechanism to access and apply for disaster assistance through collaborative, data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local and private sector partners.

    RestoreYourEconomy.org - Provides resources and best practice information for public and private stakeholders who are seeking to rebuild their local economies after an economic disruption, be it a natural disaster or man-made crisis, as well as assisting the business community in preparing for a disruption.

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce Help Desk for Business - 1-888-MY-BIZ-HELP (888-692-4943) - Contact for help navigating FEMA, SBA and other assistance programs, and you can also contact them for information about recovery best practices.

    Broward County Economic Development ​Business Assistance/Finance Programs

    Hurricane Preparedness Guides

    The Official Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide

    Re-Entry

    Following a hurricane evacuation, start with these steps:
    ◦Ensure all of your employees are safe.
    ◦Perform a damage assessment of your property as soon as you can safely get to it.
    ◦If your building is damaged, check with your insurance company before doing any repairs. Be sure to document with pictures and video all of the damage done to your inventory, equipment and building.
    ◦Send the Chamber your completed Post Emergency Business Survey

    Insurance

    How to File an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane - Hurricanes are devastating. If you’re a home or business owner whose property has been affected by a hurricane or other disaster, here are some tips on how to file an insurance claim.

    What to Expect After you File an Insurance Claim - What actually happens when the adjuster comes? What damages can you expect to have covered? What happens if the payout offer is too low?

    Hire a Contractor

    Contractor Fraud Checklist - Contractor fraud often increases after natural disasters. This simple form will help ensure that disaster impacted communities recover from disaster in a prompt, efficient and predictable way.

    Before hiring a contractor, always check their license status with the FL Dept of Business and Professional Regulations.

    Communications After a Business Interruption

    Using Telephone Lines Efficiently After a Disaster - When you pick up the receiver, there's no dial tone. You will immediately think your phone is dead. Now what will you do? Texting will often go through when calls won’t, try texting. Because of how calls are routed from different area codes, a cell phone with an out of town area code will often work when other phones won’t.

    Resources for All Emergencies

    Broward County Emergency Management

    Hurricane Irma

    The Disaster Help Desk:  Was your business impacted by Hurricane Irma, or are you looking to provide aid? The Disaster Help Desk is here to help you.

    State Assistance

    Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program: Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan helps businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

    Under the program, eligible small businesses in all 67 Florida counties with two to 100 employees may apply for short-term, interest-free loans for $1,000 to $25,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to September 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. To Apply for a Bridge Loan: Visit www.floridadisasterloan.org for more information and to apply for the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan program. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2017.

    Business Damage Assessment Survey
    DEO is assessing the damage caused by the storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Irma are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses. To take the survey, please visit www.flvbeoc.org.

    Federal Assistance

    Through a federal disaster area declaration, businesses and nonprofits in Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota and Saint Johns counties in Florida are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private non-profit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Pasco, Polk, and Volusia in Florida.

    Business Physical Disaster Loan Program
    Business Physical Disaster Loans are intended to help repair or replace disaster-damaged property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace property, including real estate, equipment, inventory, machinery, and other business assets.

    Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
    Businesses in qualifying adjacent counties may apply for up to $2 million for working capital through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations meet financial obligations and operating expenses through the disaster recovery period.

    Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms up to a maximum of 30 years for each applicant.

    Applicants may also be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages to protect property from future damage, including adding a safe room or storm shelter.

    To Apply for Physical and Economic Injury Loans
    Businesses must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by mobile device at m.fema.gov or call the toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Upon registration with FEMA, businesses may apply for a disaster loan a number of ways:
    • Submit an online application at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela;
    • Download an application from www.sba.gov/disaster and submit to a SBA disaster recovery center or mail to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155;
    • Visit a SBA recovery center for one-on-one assistance; or
    • Visit their local Florida SBDC for assistance.
     The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is November 9, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

    Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Assist
    The Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of the network's service offering, the Florida SBDC will also be deploying its Mobile Assistance Centers (MACs) into affected communities to deliver small business owners on-site assistance with loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC is working with state and federal officials to determine the MACs' locations and will release that information soon.

    For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, the U.S. SBA Physical and Economic Injury Loan Programs, and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.