At SRDC and VtSBDC, our experience with Tropical Storm Irene and its aftermath led us to identify and share the first steps that you should take if your business has been impacted by the flooding caused by today’s weather event:
1. Clearly your safety and the safety of your staff is most important. If you do not have a phone/email/chat tree to keep your staff in touch, create one today.
2. As much as you want to go in and check on the situation, do not enter your location if there is flooding. But do take many pictures from a safe distance.
3. Call your local insurance agent. Do exactly as they direct.
4. Begin DOCUMENTATION related to step #2:
a. Take pictures of everything you do from this point forward.
b. Keep a running narrative of every action you take.
c. Begin to estimate the cost of the damage (this becomes critical if the state is required to collect enough financial impact to get a Federal Disaster Declaration. If that becomes necessary, we will be giving you instructions on how to share your information with the state).
d. Also make sure to keep all of your financial data up to date and backed up.
5. The state is also providing updated information at these two sites:
Very importantly, try to pause and not take any other steps until the danger has passed, and we can help determine the next steps. During Tropical Storm Irene, we saw some actions that were taken too quickly, causing more harm in the long run. So please pause and remember that we, along with our state and regional partners, are here to help!
We are in touch with federal and state agencies and will keep you updated as we know more. We will share accurate, timely, actionable information and will work with our regional partners and towns to facilitate whatever resources become available to assist with recovery as they evolve.
But, again, SAFETY first! Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are impacted in our area communities!
Bob Flint/SRDC and Debra Boudrieau/VtSBDC