CHECKLIST: AFTER THE STORM

After a disaster, the business may be without power, water, food or any of the services we rely on. Immediate response may not be possible, so residents and businesses must be prepared to be self-reliant for several weeks.

FLORIDA VIRTUAL BUSINESS EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER RESOURCES

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BUSINESS OR FARM WAS DAMAGED

Learn more about the Disaster Declaration Process here.

FEMA does not offer grant assistance to businesses and farmers. However, FEMA does act as a referral agency for business owners and farmers. FEMA may also maintain a list of additional referral resources for business owners and farmers. The referrals may be obtained by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 or by visiting Disaster Declarations.

Business and farm loans are available to people who have suffered damage to business property or economic injury. These low-interest loans are available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), to repair or replace damaged property not covered by insurance, and to provide working capital.

You can obtain information at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) that may be set up after the President declares a major disaster. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) for information. You can visit the County FSA office or one of the SBA workshops set up in disaster areas.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service provides information and materials to farmers, ranchers, and others on what they can do to protect themselves and their property against the hazards associated with disasters. Information is available on such topics as: cleanup of damaged property, sanitation precautions, insect control, food preparation in an emergency, recovery actions on damaged farms, and renovations of damaged equipment and property.

 

RE-ENTRY

  • Be Patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled. You won’t be able to return to your facility until search and rescue operations are complete and safety hazards, such as downed trees and power lines are cleared. It may take up to three days for emergency crews to reach your area. It may take 2-4 weeks before utilities are restored. On barrier islands, it could take much longer.
  • Stay Tuned to Local Radio stations for advice and instructions about emergency medical aid, food and other forms of assistance. 
  •  Security Operations Will Include Checkpoints. It will be critical for you and your employees to have valid identification with your current local address as well as something to prove your employment and need to get back into the area. It is recommended that businesses contact the county emergency management agency and local jurisdiction to determine what specifically would be required.
  • Avoid Driving. Roads will have debris that will puncture tires. Don’t add to the congestion of relief workers, supply trucks, law enforcement, etc.

SAFETY CHECKLIST

  • Avoid Downed or Dangling Utility Wires. Metal fences may have been “energized” by fallen wires. Be especially careful when cutting or clearing fallen trees. They may have power lines tangled in them.
  • Beware of Snakes, insects or animals driven to higher ground by floods.
  • Enter Your Facility With Caution. Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry the building.
  • If There Has Been Flooding, have an electrician inspect the office before turning on the breaker.
  • Be Careful With Fire. Do not strike a match until you are sure there are no breaks in gas lines. Avoid candles. Use battery-operated flashlights and lanterns instead.
  • Use Your Telephone Only for Emergencies to keep lines open for emergency communications.

 

GENERATORS

  • Fueled by Gas, generators can run appliances and fans.
  • Sizes range from 750 watts that will run a fan and a light up to 8,000 watts that will practically run a house (except for the air conditioner).
  • If You Have Lost Power, don’t connect a portable generator to the building wiring (this could injure or kill neighbors or electrical crews).
  • Plug equipment, computers, etc., directly into the generator.
  • Place Generator outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Don’t forget to check the oil every time you add gas. Conserve fuel by alternating appliances. For example: Refrigerators can be kept cool by supplying power eight hours a day. Refrigerators require 400 – 1,000 watts.

 

REPAIRS

  • Make Temporary Repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. This may include covering holes in the roof, wall or windows and debris removal.
  • Recovery – for the purpose of assessment please have a letter naming all essential assessment personnel to be allowed back onto your property.  IDs will be required when those persons are entering back into a disaster area.  They should also have a copy of the letter granting them access permission to your property in their hand at the time of reentry.  This will also be the case for property managers. 
  • Protect Yourself From Contactor Fraud. Only hire licensed contractors to do repairs. Check with the local Building Department to ensure the contractor is licensed. If you hire a contractor, don’t pull the permits for them. If the contractor makes this request, it may be an indication that he is not properly licensed.
  • Take Photographs of All Damage before repairs and keep receipts for insurance purposes.
  • After Assessing Damage to Your Facility, contact your local building department for information on required building permits. Permits are always required for any kind of demolition or permanent repairs, reconstruction, roofing, filling, and other types of site development. Report illegal flood plain development to your local building department.
  • Local Ordinances Do Not Permit Dumping in drainage canals or ditches because it causes backups and overflow in the system. Report illegal dumping.

 

WATER PRECAUSIONS

  • Whenever widespread flooding occurs, there is a potential for bacterial contamination. Bacteria, such as shigella and salmonella, can lead to life threatening dehydration for people if untreated by antibiotics. Disinfect any tap water you drink or use for cooking or cleaning. You must purify the tap water until officials notify you of its safety. Bring water to a rolling boil for a full 10 minutes or use chemicals (8 drops of chlorine bleach or iodine per gallon) or water purification tablets as directed. Let the water sit at least 10 minutes before using. Water you saved in clean containers before the storm will be fine for 2-3 weeks. To be sure, add 2 drops of chlorine or iodine per gallon before drinking.

 

CLEAN-UP PRECAUTIONS

  • Call professionals to remove large, uprooted trees, etc.
  • Always use proper safety equipment such as heavy gloves, safety goggles, heavy boots, light colored long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • Tie back long hair, and wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, rest and ask for help when you need it.
  • Lift with the legs, not with the back.
  • Don’t burn trash.
  • If you can’t identify it, don’t touch it.
  •  Be extremely careful with a chain saw and always heed safety warnings.
The NCEDB exists because of the generous support of the Nassau County Board of Commissioners, our local municipalities and economic development partners.
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