The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Jersey office cautioned business owners to be prepared for damage from Hurricane Irene, noting the SBA will be ready to provide assistance.
Above all, New Jersey’s district director, Alfred Titone, advised business owners to keep level heads, and to take seriously the threat posed by the storm.
“They just have to smart, because this is not going to be one that is going to blow away,” he said.
Titone said forecasting models have consistently shown the storm will directly affect the state, adding that business owners in shore communities under evacuation orders should “board up and get the heck out.”
Business owners facing the potential of flooding should move important equipment and files out of basements, and raise as much off the ground as possible, Titone said.
“This is going to cause flooding not only from the ocean, but from lakes and streams, as well,” Titone said.
There have been few calls regarding the storm to the SBA Newark office in the lead-up to the storm, though Titone said the SBA generally doesn’t receive calls until after disasters have struck.
The SBA offers tips for disaster preparedness, ranging from making backup copies of important files to designating a contact person to communicate with employees, customers and vendors.
If a disaster occurs, the SBA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will assess the damage to businesses, and make low-interest loans available to aid their recovery.