SAN JUAN, PR - Restoring businesses is an important part of the recovery activities after Tropical Storm Otto affected Puerto Rico on October 4-8, 2010, resulting in a Presidential disaster declaration on October 26, 2010. After surviving a major storm or floods, businesses may face damaged property and significant loss of customers.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officials are encouraging business owners to wisely have a multi-hazard emergency plan.
“Having a multi-hazard emergency contingency plan in place, that is updated and tested, including adequate insurance coverage, can give a business the necessary edge for a prompt recovery, explained Justo Hernández, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO). “Businesses that take up emergency preparedness, in most instances can reduce their vulnerability, lessen the financial loss, and re-establish operations sooner. The faster businesses recover; the sooner communities can start their road to recovery as well.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is helping businesses recover from Tropical Storm Otto effects. The SBA is the federal government's primary funding source to rebuild, repair and restore business losses related to disaster. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuild efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. SBA low-interest disaster loans cover costs of repair or replacement of damaged real estate, personal property and business assets not fully covered by insurance or other aid. Loans for small businesses cover working capital needs caused by the disaster.
Disaster loan information may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov.
FEMA also advises business owner to visit www.floodsmart.gov for information on flood insurance coverage, cost and how to buy it. Additional information about emergency readiness for your employees is available at www.ready.gov. Furthermore, business-owners can visit www.fema.gov/business/guide for advice on emergency management for businesses and how to set up or update a plan.
FEMA’s mission is to support our first responders and ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.