Shutdown Strategy/Procedure


  • As part of the hurricane survival and recovery plan, every business, no matter what its size, should have a specific strategy for shutting down their business in the face of an impending hurricane.
  • Once the strategy has been developed and included in the overall plan, written procedures should be developed for implementation.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Does it make a difference if I rent or own?

It definitely makes a difference. If you rent or lease space in a multi-tenant building, mall or industrial park, you should contact your landlord or property manager to determine their policies and procedures regarding shutdown. If you own your property, you should establish your own procedures.

At what point should I shut down my business?

The decision on when to shut down your business depends on many factors including the size, complexity, location (e.g. are you in a mandatory evacuation zone?), type of business and the severity of the threat (e.g. storm intensity, forward speed, anticipated landfall, etc.) Your Timeline for Decisions/Actions will help you determine when to shut down your business.

Do my products/services require me to stay open until the last possible minute?

If you own a hardware store, grocery store or some vital product/service business that will be in demand up to the last possible minute, you may feel obligated to delay shut down as long as possible. Keep in mind that your safety and security and that of your employees and customers is the most important priority. If your business resides in a mandatory evacuation area, the evacuation order will dictate the time for final shut down.

What is the last possible minute?

Only you can determine this. All of the factors covered in the previous questions and answers will help you make this determination.

How will I deal with my/my employees need to attend to personal preparations?

Your employees will need time to make their own personal preparations. You need to discuss this with them and determine their requirements. You may elect to release your employees to make their preparations and then have them return to help prepare your facilities. This is risky, however, because, for a variety of reasons, they may not come back. You may start your business preparations early enough to allow adequate personal preparation time upon release. Another option you might want to consider is splitting the employees into groups, allowing some to leave early for personal preparations and to return, allowing the remaining employees to tend to their personal preparations.

How, what, when and who will communicate with employees/customers/vendors/ headquarters/other branches or locations regarding my business shutdown?

These decisions should be made well in advance of any threat and detailed in your Timeline for Decisions/Actions and your Communication Plan.

Who will make the final decision regarding the shutdown?

You need to determine beforehand who will make the final decision. You may seek employee input, but, more than likely, it will be the owner or senior manager who makes the final decision.

Who will oversee the shutdown?

In a larger business, oversight might be a collective responsibility. Different individuals might oversee shutdown from an operations or administrative standpoint. Ultimately, the owner or senior manager will, most likely, provide final oversight.

How do multiple locations affect my shutdown decisions?

If you have multiple business locations you should consider the risk and vulnerability of each location and decide if the shutdowns should be coordinated or executed separately.

What about the evacuation?

If your business is in a mandatory evacuation zone, you must evacuate when local authorities issue the evacuation order. Click here to determine if you are in a mandatory evacuation zone. Contact your local authorities ahead of time to determine their procedure for issuing the evacuation orders. Make sure you allow enough time for you and your employees to evacuate. Especially with regional evacuations, the numbers of evacuees will often overwhelm the capacities of evacuation routes. This greatly increases clearance times and can put evacuees at risk. Below are the estimates of Evacuation Clearance Times.


Evacuation Clearance Times

Palm Beach County

JUST PALM BEACH COUNTY4 ¼ - 9 ¼9 ¾ - 15 ¼12 - 17 ½
PB COUNTY & TREASURE COAST7 ¾ - 11 ¼13 ¾ - 1716 ¼ - 22 ¼
PB COUNTY & LOWER SE FL.13 ½- 19 ¾22 ½ - 20 ½36 ½ - 44 ¾
PB COUNTY, SE FL.TREASURE COAST17 - 23 ¼28 ¼ - 35 ½41 ½ - 51

These are only estimates provided to emphasize the importance of early preparedness. Do not wait until the last minute to make your evacuation decision. Listen to and heed governmental evacuation notices.

Source: Palm Beach County Supplemental Emergency Transportation Planning analysis


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