Based on the advisory information received from the Highlands County Emergency Operations Center and the National Weather Service, Hurricane Irma is expected to have an impact on Central Florida and Highlands County. Highlands County Economic Development has compiled several disaster preparedness and disaster assistance/recovery resources for our local businesses:


Please forward this information on to your colleagues, fellow business partners, and anyone you feel may benefit from these resources.


For the most recent local updates, monitor the following community public information services:

  • Text HCIRMA to 888777 to receive text updates regarding Hurricane Irma for Highlands County
  • Emergency Operations Center Hotline: (863) 385-1112 or visit Emergency Management’s website  
  • Highlands County Board of County Commissioners’ website and Facebook


For statewide information on Hurricane Irma and Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Assistance/Recovery information for your business:

  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management’s Florida Disaster website’s Business page has various Business Topics including Business Disaster Planning, Business Insurance Basics, and Information on the Storage of Hazardous Materials – as well as a Business Toolbox with a number of Resource links such as IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations, Disaster Contractors Network and more.


  • Florida's Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC): http://flvbeoc.org  is activated and will serve as the primary portal for private sector preparation, damage assessments and recovery.  All Florida businesses are encouraged to register. (This website has been up and down due to the increased volume of traffic. You may need to keep trying.) Their Resources tab has additional information including road closure information, Comcast WIFI hotspots information, and FLVBEOC How To: Business Damage Assessment.


  • Avoid Digital Disaster: Free Email Continuity Program for Businesses Threatened by Natural Disaster: The AppRiver Digital Disaster Recovery Program is an emergency email continuity program provided free by AppRiver to businesses facing imminent natural disasters. Businesses threatened by approaching hurricanes or other catastrophic events may simply redirect their email to AppRiver through our secure data centers. Once the danger passes and connectivity is restored, AppRiver will forward all outage-period e-mail activity to the company’s e-mail server, free of charge.


  • Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network’s Business Disaster Recovery Services offer assistance to Florida businesses with recovery efforts after a disaster. Their Business Continuation Disaster link provides information on various types of disaster loans and resources. Highlands County’s local Small Business Development Center office is housed at South Florida State College in Avon Park – their contact information can be found at: https://sbdctampabay.com/highlands/


  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers Emergency Preparedness information including an IRS guide on preserving your equipment and business records, specific disaster checklists and tips, information about financial assistance after a disaster, disaster assistance loans, cleanup and more.
  • FEMA’s website dedicated to Hurricane Irma provides preparedness and safety information, resources – such as information on downloading the FEMA Mobile App, pertinent FEMA social media accounts, and rumor control.
  • Keep up-to-date on Hurricane Irma’s progression via the National Hurricane Center.  


Please forward this information on to your colleagues, fellow business partners, and anyone you feel may benefit from these resources.

Hurricane Irma | Business & Disaster Recovery Resources
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