Before a Disaster

Before a Disaster | During a Disaster | After a Disaster

Your Disaster Plan Should Include

  • A list of your most important customers and proactively planned ways to serve them during and after a disaster.
  • A list of key suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.
  • Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. Talk with your staff or co-workers and frequently review and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. Review and update your plans at least annually and inform your employees of the changes.
  • A plan to establish two-way communication before, during and after a disaster with your employees. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee emails and /o r other communication tools.
  • An onsite disaster supply kit. Supplies can include water, food, both a battery-powered radio and a NOAA weather radio with an alert function, extra batteries, a flashlight, first aid kit, whistle, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, filter mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape in the event of airborne chemical hazards and moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Copies of important records such as site maps, building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, emergency or law enforcement contact information and other priority documents in a waterproof, fireproof portable container.
  • A plan to stay or go. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, the first important decision after an incident occurs is whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities in advance by developing clear, well-thought-out plans. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available.
  • An evacuation plan. Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives.
  • A crisis communication plan. Detail how your organization plans to communicate with employees, local authorities, customers and others during and after a disaster. Include relevant information for employees, top company executives, the general public and your customers as well as local, state and federal authorities.

Additional Steps to Take Before a Disaster Strikes

Review Insurance Coverage: Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary, so check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy covers and what it does not.

Prepare for Utility Disruptions: Businesses are often dependent on electricity, gas, telecommunications, sewer and other utilities. You should plan ahead for extended disruptions during and after a disaster. Speak with service providers about potential alternatives and identify back-up options such as portable generators to power the vital aspects of your business in an emergency.

Secure Facilities, Buildings and Plants: While there is no way to predict what will happen or what your business' circumstances will be, there are things you can do in advance to help protect your physical assets. Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure ingress and egress and plan for mail safety.

Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable: Secure valuable equipment. Make sure your building’s Heating, Ventilating and Air-conditioning (HVAC) system is working properly and is well-maintained. You should also determine if you can feasibly upgrade the building’s filtration system as a means of protection from biological and some other airborne threats.

Improve Cyber Security: Protecting your data and information technology systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open email from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from Internet intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly. Subscribe to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Alert System,, to receive free, timely alerts.

Planning Resources

Business Continuity Planning Resources

Printable Resources

As Significant Weather is Approaching

  • Close your business in time to allow employees to secure their homes, get supplies and evacuate if necessary.
  • Double-check your disaster kit.
  • Inventory, document and photograph items in your business.
  • Fill your fleet vehicles with gas, check oil, water and tires.
  • Secure your property- shutter windows and other openings and bring in outdoor objects.
  • Back up all computer data and store in a safe location offsite.
  • Obtain enough cash for business operations.
  • When you close your business, turn off all electricity at the breaker, water and gas. Unplug major appliances and equipment and turn off HVAC system. Lock all windows, doors or other openings.

How will you Know?

E-breaking News – E-Breaking News is Santa Rosa County’s e-mail and text messaging notification system. You can sign up on the county’s website to receive news alerts about emergencies or other events that may affect daily life in our county. Messages can also be viewed online at

Disaster Information through Emails – You can subscribe to the county public information officer’s disaster press release distribution list by visiting, clicking on the subscribe button and selecting 「News Releases - Disaster Information Only」 and any other publication of your choice. When the emergency operations center is activated for any disaster, you will receive updates on what precautions residents and visitors should take, any evacuation orders issued, and recovery information.

Disaster Information Online – In the event of an emergency the Santa Rosa County website,, will be updated regularly with the latest information on the emergency including event status, what you can do to keep safe, and any disaster services available.

The Citizen Information Center Line – A phone bank to answer questions is activated before a storm or as a response to other disasters. Residents and visitors can call (850)983-INFO/4636 or (800) 225-7421.

AlertSantaRosa – Replaces our former system, GeoCast®Web™ and like its predecessor, AlertSantaRosa is an emergency warning tool that will be used to provide rapid phone notifications to people in situations when public safety may be at risk.  It will be used during emergencies, such as chemical spills or hazardous materials incidents, fire or flooding evacuation scenarios, and drinking water contamination. It can also be used to let residents know of crimes in their area, i.e. vehicle burglaries or house invasions etc. Individuals may register for these notifications via the County’s website,, or directly through the system’s self-registration web portal, AlertSantaRosa

Social Media – Santa Rosa County also uses Twitter and Facebook to disseminate disaster information to our residents.