LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Disaster recovery takes a whole community. With this in mind, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its state and federal partners are reaching out to Arkansas businesses as an important part of the recovery process.
The partners will offer a "Back-to-Business Workshop" from 1 to 3 p.m. July 14 at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. The free event is designed to provide recovery information to businesses and nonprofit groups affected by the April 14 to June 3 storms, and to encourage them to participate in recovery efforts and prepare for future emergencies.
"If you're a business in Arkansas today, you either need help or you can help," said W. Michael Moore, FEMA's deputy federal coordinating officer for the Arkansas disaster recovery effort. "This workshop can generate ideas that could benefit you or be crucial to someone's survival in the future."
Indeed, many Arkansas businesses and nonprofit organizations were either directly affected by the disaster or they sustained financial loss as a result of it. With businesses forced to suspend activities because of storm damage, their employees also lost work and their customers lost services.
Meanwhile, many businesses that escaped damage stepped up to inform survivors about disaster assistance by providing a disaster registration message on cash register receipts, utility bills, email messages or in their monthly newsletters. Some stores even placed state/FEMA fliers in customers' shopping bags. Others provided volunteers or services to those in need.
"Businesses and their employees suffer along with everyone else when disasters strike and we must provide them the information they need to recover," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. "We strongly support the business workshops not only because they achieve that goal, but because they also stress the concept that recovery and preparedness is a team effort."
The July 14 workshop, hosted on campus by UALR's Institute for Economic Development, will include presentations from FEMA experts in Individual Assistance, Hazard Mitigation and the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as specialists from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Internal Revenue Service and the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. These specialists will also be available to answer questions.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to 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.