Critical FEMA Deadline Approaching for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Sandy
Thursday, January 17, 2013 • 4:55pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, PLAINFIELD, WESTFIELD, NJ – The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce (GWACC) and the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce co sponsored an information session on Thursday at the Westfield Library in order for representatives from FEMA and the Small Business Association(SBA) to present information on how to apply for economic aid after Hurricane Sandy.
GWACC Executive Director Heather Robinson welcomed attendees and then turned the meeting over the FEMA and SBA representatives.
“It is very important for businesses and individuals to understand how important it is to register with FEMA,” said Ken Gay, FEMA External Affairs. The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is January 30, 2013.
Mr. Gay also outlined the importance for individuals and businesses to have a “preparedness plan” in place. “If this happens again, to you have a plan for your employees, your records, your vehicles?” He then concluded his remarks by emphasizing how important the January 30 deadline was and how simple it was to register.
“I have heard many business owners say they do not want to borrow money, that they have enough trouble paying the current bills,” said Jessica Paul, SBA Public Affairs Specialist. “However, keep in mind that you do not have to take the money. You can get approval and let the money sit and then see if you need it. It you miss the deadline and then decide you need the money, it will no longer be an option.”
Ms. Paul went on to outline that the SBA loan was not meant to make a business “whole”. “I give the example of the three legged stool, with registering with FEMA, applying to the SBA and your insurance as the three legs. You need all of them in order to cover everything lost by Hurricane Sandy.”
“FEMA registration is very simple. If you are an individual you can do it online or in person at a Disaster Recovery Center. If you are a business, simply by applying to the SBA also means you are registering with FEMA.”
Jeffery Dunn, President of the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that local towns such as Westfield, Scotch Plains and Fanwood have an advantage, as the “One Stop” center in Plainfield is both an SBA Office and a Disaster Recovery Center. “You can give us a call on 908-757-5155 ex. 2 or stop by 320 Park Ave in Plainfield.”
Further information on FEMA can be found at http://www.fema.gov/sandy and on the SBA at http://www.sba.gov/content/applying-disaster-loan.