This site has been designed to assist businesses become better prepared to survive and recover when disasters strike and to encourage the private sector to engage itself in community disaster preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives. It provides quick access to key preparedness and recovery resources.
Businesses: Economic Engine of Our Communities
Palm Beach County's business sector consists of more than 74,000 businesses, employs 546,000 people, pays $15 billion a year in wages (exclusive of benefits), generates $60 billion in annual sales receipts, and accounts for a third of the County's tax base. Its continued health is critical to the health of the community. By virtue of its proximity to the coast (91% of businesses are within 10 miles of the coast), Palm Beach County's business base is highly susceptible to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Eighty percent of County businesses have fewer than 10 employees.
The Challenge of Business Resiliency
According to a number of credible sources, including the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, over 40% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen and another 25% close within two years. A significant factor in this attrition rate is a general lack of preparedness on the part of businesses. The resources and links on this site have been selected to assist businesses in becoming better prepared to survive and recover when disaster events strike.
County Has Among Highest Commercial Exposure in Florida and Nation
Palm Beach County, Florida is among the nation's most richly blessed areas. Because of its great weather and splendid coastal beauty, it is a tourist mecca, retirement magnet, part-time residence of the wealthy, and booming business center. For decades the county has been among the fastest growing areas in the country. With this growth has come explosive residential and commercial development near coastal areas. This growth and development has occurred during a period of relative calm. But, Palm Beach County has a storied history of intense hurricanes, tornadoes, violent lightning storms, flooding, droughts, and wildfires. And, the area recently discovered it is not immune to acts of terrorism, industrial accidents, and workplace violence.
Today, the insurance industry looks at Palm Beach County as having among the highest commercial exposure in the state, and Florida ranks second only to New York state.
Businesses: Critical Resources for Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
Businesses own and operate 85% of our critical infrastructure and services. It is vital to our quality of life and economic sustainability that the local business base be resilient to disasters and be fully engaged as partners in all phases of disaster management.
This sentiment has been echoed over and over by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
"Whether it's supplying water and food or providing other essential services, getting businesses up and running after a disaster hits is critical to the financial health of a community and its long-term recovery. We at FEMA are continuing to work with the private sector to strengthen our overall preparedness and make sure that, as a country, we are bringing every resource to bear to help people and communities recover from tragedies."
Through FEMA Headquarters' Private Sector Division, Office of External Affairs, additional resources have been dedicated to supporting the development of regional strategies, pilot programs, events, and other activities that will further strengthen FEMA’s efforts to fully integrate the private sector as an active player on the national emergency management team.
Key elements of Palm Beach County’s Business and Industry Unit Program are described in the Directory of Resources section of the home page. The key mechanisms for business sector involvement are an ESF 18 function, locally-driven initiatives and participation in the South Florida Disaster Resiliency Coalition, a four county regional public-private partnership.