Businesses encouraged to prepare for disaster now

By Kyle Grainger - bio | email

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) -  The Florence Chamber of Commerce held a workshop on Tuesday to show businesses what they need to do to prepare for a disaster.

Leaders say it's important that businesses can open back up immediately so the economic recovery of the region can move faster. But leaders say it's not just major storms like hurricanes businesses need to be ready to handle. They say everything from a small fire, to a water leak needs to be addressed.

"Once the event has occurred then you're trying to play catch up and it's very difficult to get back up ahead of the situation. So now is the time to make these procedures and put them into place," said Dusty Owens with the Florence County Emergency Management Office.

Mike Alexander, General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence says he found the workshop to be very informative. He says he was curious about how to get information to guests during a hurricane, and there are things in his plan he'd like to look over.

"When they issue an evacuation order we usually sell out within 45 minutes," said Alexander.  "So they all come this way."

The South Carolina Small Business Administration also spoke to business owners about how they can help after a disaster. The administration has financial resources available to help get businesses back on their feet.

"The businesses should be on top of all the time, not just with preparedness but also with what's available after a disaster," said Anna Huntley, with the Small Business Administration.

Being prepared is what Mike Alexander says he plans to do, and now he has the information to do it with.

Found a lot of things, we'll definitely be on the FEMA website and then the state emergency management office website, that was another good source of information," said Alexander.

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