Teri Ashley

Teri Ashley

As of this writing, we are expected to have two named storms approaching the Gulf of Mexico at this time. Personally, I was hoping Marco would be the one closest to us just so we could have a little bit of anxiety-releasing silliness playing “Marco ... Polo” with one another.

“Laura ... Paura” just doesn’t do it.

All silliness aside, businesses should always have their hurricane emergency plans ready. And as we have all now had confirmed, it should actually be an “All Hazards Emergency Plan.” It’s 2020, after all.

But this weather issue is something we know about. We know how to prepare our businesses for a storm of any kind and what we are to do prior, during and after a storm. If you happen to be new to this, please educate yourself at the local Charlotte County Emergency Management website (www.charlottecountyfl.gov/departments/public-safety/emergency-management) or their Facebook page. The 2020 Charlotte County Disaster Guide can literally be a life-saver.

The general resource of disastersafety.org is also full of valuable, easy-to-follow information for businesses to help protect themselves and reduce risks. This includes:

Ensure your roof is in good condition

Check your perimeter flashing materials

Remove or secure roof-mounted equipment

Secure skylights

Check for adequate sign connections

Ensure AC units are secure and/or sealed

Check the security of lightning protection systems

Have backup power maintained and on standby

Retrofit or secure commercial doors

Install shutters over non-impact rated windows

Be ready to implement your business continuity plan

With your physical location all buttoned-up, safe and sound for whatever may come, hopefully the only parts of your business continuity plan you will ever need is to remove shutters and sweep the sidewalk. There are, however, many details to consider just in case, including these few:


Employee communication and availability

Supplier and vendor communication and availability

Customer notifications

Operating system backup files

Emergency cash reserve and credit availability

Payroll mechanism

Please review your business disaster plans. If you don’t yet have one, please take a look at the many available resources and put one together. And that should be sooner rather than later.

LC2020 rides again

The Leadership Charlotte Class of 2020 reconvened last week for Local Economy Day. What was supposed to be the standard 30-day gap between March 12 Environmental Day and the next day-long session ended up being 154 days. And as the 22 local business representatives — the remaining class members — boarded their charter bus, they were masked and armed with hand sanitizer.

For the past 30 years, each Leadership Charlotte class has had its own personality and its own set of special circumstances. But this year takes the cake. The June graduation has been re-rescheduled until Dec. 10, but we are going to get them graduated.

Welcome back, LC2020.

Don’t tell anyone

As someone who has experienced their fair share of storms since the 1960s, including Hurricane Andrew down south and Hurricane Charley here, the only thing anyone can do against forces like those is to always be prepared for whatever may come.

There are many Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) courses under my belt, including being certified as a “Public Information Officer in an All Hazards Incident” by the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

And do you know what that mouthful means to Mother Nature? Diddly squat, that’s what.

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, now in its 95th year. She can be reached at 941-627-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.

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