Prepare For An Emergency
This is Florida - Quick Resources for Your Business
Businesses today must plan for more than just supply and demand. Hurricanes, floods, fires, terrorism, and other potential hazards pose serious threats to businesses everywhere. Studies show that the majority of small businesses that are hit by a disaster never reopen or fail within 2 years. The tools and information provided on this page are designed to help Florida businesses stay prepared and to ensure the continued health of Florida’s economy.
Businesses of all sizes that plan and prepare for disaster are much better off after the storm, and are in a better position to help their employees and customers.
For resources and information, please visit and register first with Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center.
Do you have a plan for your business? Do your employees have a plan for their families? Access assistance in creating a plan for your business.
Do you know your evacuation zone and routes? View evacuation zone and routes.
What do you need to expect from your business insurance? Information to guide your business through important insurance decisions like, “Do I need business interruption insurance?” and “How do I file a claim?”
The Florida Business Disaster Survival Kit is part of the official state disaster preparedness and mitigation program, Florida Prepares!
How to Prepare for an Emergency - Advice from the Small Business Administration
Smart planning can help you keep your business running if disaster strikes. You’ll want to take the right steps to prevent and prepare for disaster, and know where to get aid if disaster strikes.
An estimated 25% of businesses don’t open again after a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Protect your small business by identifying the risks relevant to your location, both natural and man-made. Then, keep your plan of action updated.
Preserve your equipment and business records by referencing this IRS guide on protecting your information before an emergency strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers an emergency preparedness checklist and toolkit.
Checklists and Safety Tips
Focus on disasters that pose a realistic risk to your small business. Consult the following resources to lessen the financial impact of disasters and reopen your business quickly.
The Small Business Administration also offers emergency preparedness training with a self-paced overview of SBA’s disaster assistance programs, resources and regulations.
Get Financial Assistance after a Disaster
Report Damages to the State
If a natural disaster occurs, businesses affected by the disaster will be asked to complete an online Business Damage Assessment (BDA) Survey. This link will be provided in the Business section of Pasco's website and will be titled "Businesses Affected by Event Name." It is vital to report the value of the damage you received, even if your insurance will cover the costs. The information you provide will be compiled as survey results and will be shared among various state and local agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs for affected businesses and to aid in the determination of eligibility to receive assistance through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
If the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor of Florida, small businesses who have been physically and/or economically impacted by a natural disaster may apply for a short term bridge loan.
These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
The Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses, which is why eligibility is linked to pursuit of other sources. Please note: this program provides a short-term loan of State of Florida public funds, not a grant, with the expectation that repayment will be made out of receipts from other sources of longer term disaster recovery assistance.
For more information, please visit: floridadisasterloan.org
Small Business Association Disaster Relief Loan Information
If your business or private, nonprofit organization has suffered physical damage or your small business or private, nonprofit organization of any size has sustained economic injury after a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. If your business—regardless of size—is located in the declared disaster area, you may apply for a long-term, low-interest loan to repair or replace damaged property.
Even if your property was not damaged and you are a small business owner or a private, nonprofit organization, you may apply for a working capital loan from the SBA to relieve the economic injury caused by the disaster.
Physical Disaster Loans
Businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations may apply for a Physical Disaster Loan of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory and fixtures. The loan may be increased by as much as 20 percent of the total amount of physical loss, as verified by SBA, to protect the property against future disasters of the same type. These loans will cover uninsured or under-insured losses.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes suffering substantial economic injury may be eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan of up to $2 million to meet necessary financial obligations – expenses the business would have paid if the disaster had not occurred.
The interest rate on both these loans will not exceed 4 percent if you do not have credit available elsewhere. Repayment can be up to 30 years, depending on the business’s ability to repay the loan. For businesses and nonprofit organizations with credit available elsewhere, the interest rate will not exceed 8 percent. SBA determines whether the applicant has credit available elsewhere.
Businesses may apply directly to the SBA for possible assistance. The SBA will send an inspector to estimate the cost of your damage once you have completed and returned your loan application.
For additional information, please contact SBA's Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email the Customer Service Center.
To learn more and read the Frequently Asked Questions, please visit The Small Business Association.
Disaster Cleanup and Your Health
Take precautions to avoid injury or illness occurring in the cleanup process following a disaster. The wide range of hazards range from downed power lines and contaminated waters to hidden molds and toxins.
Disasters are magnified by their consequences on health and health services, so the Center for Disease Control (CDC) serves as an important resource through its Health Studies Branch. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published cleanup tips specifically for hazards during natural disaster recoveries.
If you encounter hazardous material spills or discharges, call the National Response Center, and contact the National Pesticide Center if applicable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines reporting for spills and environmental violations.
If you need more assistance, please email the Office of Economic Growth or call 727-847-2411.