With more than 60 million Americans, on average, tuning in to a high stakes series of presidential debates this month, even the most fanciful Hollywood screenwriters could not have scripted today’s events. It’s eight days before a presidential election and, right now, more than 60 million Americans along the eastern seaboard of the United States are bracing for the impact of an epic and, potentially, deadly hurricane with the gilded name, Sandy.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama stepped off the campaign trail into full Commander in Chief mode and met, directly, with his leadership team at FEMA. With disaster preparedness and relief efforts well underway with various state and local agencies, if you’re in the path of the storm and you still have power—or if you want to check on loved ones who are about to lose theirs—then here’s valuable short- and long-term disaster preparedness information and financial relief resources that can help small business leaders, and others, ride out this epic storm.
- Innovative app developers have created potentially life-saving disaster apps that can keep anxious loved ones informed while also keeping those caught in the eye of the storm up-to-date on Sandy’s path. Apps created by the Red Cross, which includes a locator function, and the Weather Channel are free. The online non-profit organization, Humanity Road, offers a Disaster Apps and Alert Directory that includes state-based apps and an app for children with special needs.
- It’s too early to determine what impact Sandy’s devastating path will have on our economy but businesses of all sizes are already losing billions as travel plans are cancelled, as conferences and special events are rescheduled and as overburdened social service and disaster relief organizations prepare to shelter those whose homes are about to be damaged or destroyed by this escalating hurricane with Category 3 or 4 pressure levels. At the same time, disaster-related construction will occur once the wind and water has receded with initial estimates of as much as $15 to $20 billion in new, direct private spending.
- And, finally, no matter how effective disaster preparedness and emergency response may be or if, somehow, Sandy’s path were to make a sharp turn, due East out to sea, thereby saving lives and property in its wake, the fact is thousands of small businesses will suffer epic property and financial losses. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website outlines its support for low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. The SBA also provides resources to private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and other assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a disaster. Likewise, the business journal, The Street, has compiled additional small business solutions to help you cope once hurricane Sandy has left our shores.