Sometimes disasters strike without warning, such as earthquakes. Other times, we have a few days to prepare, such as an approaching hurricane. In the case of any natural or man-made disaster, small business owners should have a disaster preparedness plan in place and ready to go.
It’s often difficult for small business owners – some of the busiest people in America – to look beyond the most pressing, immediate business concerns. But an “ounce of prevention” today could mean the difference in whether a business is able to survive a disaster and quickly return to regular operations.
The Pennsylvania SBDCs have experience helping small businesses secure federal or state disaster loans and provide post-disaster counseling to assist business owners in their recovery efforts.
Four Things To Do After A Disaster
1. 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.
2. 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).
3. 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. Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by visiting the SBA website, calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to .
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 . You can also visit a FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in your area.
4. Contact the Pennsylvania SBDC for assistance with:
- Assessing the financial impact on your business
- Reconstructing financial statements
- Preparing your SBA disaster loan application
- Exploring options with creditor
Find a Pennsylvania SBDC location