Hurricane Irma has strengthened into a Category 5 storm with winds reaching more than 185 mph. Governor Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for all of Florida’s 67 counties. While the exact path of this storm is not yet known our industry must be prepared for the worst and we must stand ready to assist Florida’s visitors and residents. Below are a few ways FRLA Members are encouraged to begin disaster preparation and contribute to emergency efforts:

Register your business with FLVBEOC. Receive up-to-date storm information, report open / closed business status, complete a business damage assessment survey and request and offer resources. Register now.

Get A Plan. Build your customized business disaster plan and encourage your employees to build a customized family emergency plan at

Keep travelers informed. VISIT FLORIDA is providing weather updates and official source links for visitors to keep up with the latest changes here.

Have compassion for cancellations. FRLA encourages its lodging members to consider waiving all cancellation fees in an emergency of this nature. Our industry’s goal is to keep our visitors safe and out of harm’s way.

Offer Shelter.  All hotel and lodging providers are strongly encouraged to enroll now in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. This provides short-term lodging for eligible disaster survivors whose communities are either uninhabitable or inaccessible due to disaster-related damage.

Make accommodations inventory available.  As mandatory and voluntary evacuation notices are issued in the coming days, visitors and residents can make lodging relocation plans here. First responders traveling to the impacted areas can also use this information to find available lodging. Lodging operators who are Expedia partners are to stay in communication with their contacts for availability.

Welcome pets. Once evacuations begin, consider relaxing restrictions on pets at your lodging property to accommodate displaced evacuees.

Report Price-Gouging. As the entire state of Florida is under a declared state of emergency, Florida’s price gouging law applies statewide. Learn how to comply and/or report violations online or via the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

Attention distributors. Governor Scott has rescinded all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida. Learn more.   Visit FRLA’s Hurricane Resource Center for a comprehensive guide to learn how to prepare your business before a disaster strikes, keep your workplace and employees safe during a disaster and recover and rebuild after a storm.  FRLA will continue to provide additional information and requests as they become available. For live updates on Hurricane Irma follow @FLSERT on Twitter.  Your safety is our top priority.