The purpose of Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 is to coordinate local, state, and federal agencies and organizations' actions that will provide immediate and short-term assistance for the needs of businesses, industries, and economic stabilization.
Preparedness and response assistance may include accessing the financial, workforce, technical, and community resources that may affect a community’s ability to restore business operations as quickly as possible and resume focus on long-term business strategies. Coordination of local, state, and federal business assistance is done primarily through networks of local and regional economic, workforce and tourism development partners, as well as business support organizations that determine the most efficient and effective ways to manage access to these services at the local and regional level. ESF 18 will support the State Emergency Response Team’s (SERT’s) efforts via the identification and solicitation of resources to meet identified needs. ESF 18 will also support SERT efforts by facilitating and coordinating intermediate and long-term economic impact statements.
The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce fills that role. Our staff will be sure to keep you informed of what is happening before, during, and after an emergency, have someone staffed at the emergency operations center to assist city and county staff, and assist you in the recovery process once it is safe to do so. We will also take the time to educate you on ways to prepare your business, staff, and family for emergencies such as hurricanes as best we can.
Planning for Businesses
Before a Disaster Strikes
A disaster of any size could have an impact on your business. Taking the steps to build a business disaster continuity plan and encouraging your employees to create a family emergency plan can reduce the impact on your business. It is important to consider how a disaster could affect your employees, customers, and workplace. How would you manage your business if access to the workplace is limited by road closures, streets are impassable, or communication is limited?
During a Disaster
During a disaster, safety is the main concern. Businesses are encouraged to review their Business Continuity Plan to ensure the information is up to date and employees are all aware of the plan and their responsibilities. It is important to monitor relevant emergency management news for weather and safety updates. In case an evacuation is ordered, business owners should secure their businesses and follow instructions by local emergency management on evacuation orders. Remember, if your local emergency management officials order an evacuation and you make a decision to remain in your business, emergency responders will not be able to respond to you during the disaster. You, and your employees, will be on your own until the storm passes and first responders are able to secure the area.
After a Disaster – Immediate Action
Safety is the first priority when re-entering your business in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Follow instructions from local emergency management for when it is safe to return to the area and what safety measures should be taken into account.
If you are able to re-enter your facility and the damage is minor, make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and to minimize further damage. Take photographs or video of all damage prior to making repairs for future business damage assessments. Contact your insurance company immediately and make arrangements to meet an adjustor as soon as possible. Only hire licensed contractors certified by the local jurisdiction and State of Florida to do repairs. If the contractor requests you pull the permit, it may be an indication that he is not properly licensed and is not entitled to permitting privileges.
After a Disaster – Rebuilding
When local emergency management officials, law enforcement and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) have determined the area is safe and secure for the private sector to re-enter following a disaster the focus will shift to the recovery of the community. Once you are able to return to your business location it is important to document the damage sustained during the disaster. Economic assistance for the private sector may be available based on the magnitude of the disaster and overall economic impact to the community.
Businesses are encouraged to complete the online Business Damage Assessment tool available on FLORIDADISASTER.BIZ website. This information will provide valuable economic impact information to the Department of Economic Opportunity and SERT leadership.
Many parts of the United States, including Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and territories in the Pacific may be directly affected by heavy rains, strong winds, wind-driven rain, coastal and inland floods, tornadoes, and coastal storm surges resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes. The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit helps leaders take action to protect employees, protect customers, and help ensure business continuity as well.
Inland Flooding Toolkit
Most of the United States is at some risk for flooding, so it is important that organizations, businesses, and community groups understand the potential impacts.
Power Outage Toolkit
While a Power Outage may not seem as dangerous as a tornado or earthquake, it can still cause damage to homes, businesses, and communities. Power Outages cost the U.S. economy $20 billion and $55 billion annually and continue to increase each year (CRS, 2012).
Severe Wind/Tornado Toolkit
It is not just in Tornado Alley. Most of the United States is at some risk for severe wind and tornadoes.
Ready Business Workshop “How-To” Guide
This “How-To” guide explains how to plan for and deliver effective Ready Business workshops.
Ready Business Videos
Doing Business with the State of Florida
Florida Emergency Network
DMS - Emergency Supplier and Purchaser Networks
MyFloridaMarketPlace Vendor Information Portal
Register with MyFloridaMarketPlace to provide goods and services to the State of Florida
Disaster Contractors Network
Helping Home and Small Business Owners to Rebuild After a Disaster
Requirements for Vendor Registration
View a step-by-step guide on vendor registration with MyFloridaMarketPlace
MFMP TV W9 video
View a quick tutorial on the DFS W-9 process
Vendor Registration Online Training
View a quick tutorial on registering your business with MyFloridaMarketPlace
Ready.gov - Business
Provides Information for Planning and Protecting your Business
United States Small Business Administration
Helps Families and Businesses Recover from National Disasters
IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations
Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Losses