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The SBTDC has a long history of helping businesses prepare for and recover from disasters and has been identified as a “first responder” for business recovery in the state’s disaster recovery plan. The SBTDC has been recognized for its efforts in helping the NC Department of Commerce in administering its business disaster recovery program. Since 1999, we have helped businesses secure federal or state disaster loans and provided post-disaster counseling to aid businesses in their recovery. When disaster hit the US Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina, our experience and knowledge was called upon to help businesses and service providers in Louisiana and Mississippi. We now have a dedicated team of over 15 disaster-experienced business counselors who can be deployed within a few days notice to assist businesses in declared disaster areas.
Why should I worry about something that may never happen?As thousands of businesses in North Carolina have found out over the past decade, once-in-a-century year events can cripple a business for months or permanently. A proper disaster plan won’t completely spare you a hardship, but it can certainly lessen the impact and speed your recovery. With the increase in unusually powerful weather events that the world has seen just this decade, the possibility of an unforeseen catastrophe doesn’t seem so remote. Weather events, fire, power outages, or any number of occurrences can have an adverse effect on your business. A little preparation now can ease potential troubles in the future. In fact, the most common business disaster is data loss which can result from simple power outages, theft or fire.
I have insurance for my business, isn’t that enough?Some items an insurance policy can’t repair or replace – such as the loss of key customers or destroyed business/financial records. Also, insurance claims can sometimes take a while to be paid – especially when a major disaster strikes and thousands of insurance customers are impacted. Some upfront planning can help you protect records, speed your recovery, and give assurances to customers that downtimes will be temporary and short-lasting.
Who should have a recovery plan?Every business should have a plan – not just those who reside on the coast or in a flood plain. You may feel that it is overwhelming and time consuming to prepare, but it doesn’t have to be. The SBTDC is available to help. Even if you choose not to create a comprehensive business disaster plan, at least consider the areas where you might be most vulnerable — whether it’s protecting your records, equipment or communications, think strategically. Some preparation is more valuable than no preparation at all and every step you take can make your recovery a faster and easier process.
Five Things To Do After A Disaster
- Contact your insurance carrier to file your claim. If you are leasing business space, ensure that your lease owner has contacted their insurance carrier. Take pictures of damage.
- Once a federal disaster declaration has been made for your area (this can take several days post-disaster), contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency by phone or online at www.fema.gov to report any loss. FEMA will take your information, provide you a registration number and mail applicable loan applications to you. For business loss, FEMA will refer you to the U.S. Small Business Administration.FEMA Phone Registration 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 (speech & hearing impaired). You can also visit a FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in your area. DRC’s are temporary mobile assistance centers and are established after a federal disaster declaration has been made. Check your local news source for information about times and locations.
- Contact the U.S. Small Business Administration to pursue low interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.
- The SBA provides applications for the agency’s disaster loan program online, which offers:
- Business physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to cover uninsured or underinsured losses.
- Economic injury disaster loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations.
To obtain Disaster Loan Program information or to receive a status update on your loan request, call their customer service line at 1-800-659-2955 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit a FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in your area.
- Contact the North Carolina SBTDC for assistance with:
- Assessing the financial impact on your business
- Reconstructing financial statements
- Preparing your SBA disaster loan application
- Exploring options with creditors
Find an SBTDC office near you by searching for an SBTDC office near you or by calling 1-800-258-0862.
- NC Emergency Management – ReadyNC.org
- Federal preparedness and recovery website – Ready.gov
- SBA Disaster Preparedness – PrepareMyBusiness.org
- NOAA – www.noaa.gov
- Weather – Weather.gov
- Transportation – ncdot.org/traffictravel
- NC Department of Insurance – ncdoi.com
- Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety – DisasterSafety.org
- Red Cross Business Readiness Evaluation Tool – ReadyrRating.org