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Dec 09

FEMA Stresses Partnerships Following Sandy

Posted by: Dr Tom Phelan in DRJ Blogs

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Dr Tom Phelan

Yesterday's bulletin from FEMA was for New Jersey resident victims of Hurricane Sandy to assist them in rebuilding their homes.

"TRENTON, N.J. -- Your home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and you want to build back better. Or, maybe you have to rebuild your home completely and are looking for smart ideas to make it stronger and safer. For knowledgeable and reliable advice, look no farther than your local home improvement store.

Specialists from FEMA will be present with information that will help you rebuild stronger, safer and smarter. They have information about building techniques that can provide more protection for your home, business and property in future disasters."

FEMA is partnering with local hardware, home improvement and big box stores to provide advice to victims of the storm.  As early as 1998, FEMA partnered with Home Depot under the Project Impact program to provide supplies to storm victims. Now, in 2012, FEMA is positioning advisors in local home improvement supply stores to assist people with repairs and rebuilding.  The process is burdensome, and the funds available carry lots of conditions.

A qualified applicant for funding under the Stafford Act can receive funds for repairs as long as those repairs do not go beyond the pre-existing condition of the structure. For small and mid-size businesses, this can be a problem with IT equipment.  It's next to impossible to replace a 5 or 10 year old server or computer with a new one that is of the same capacity as the one destroyed by the storm.  The local home improvement store will have little or no knowledge or stock of servers. Are Best Buy or Staples included in the list of home improvement stores? Even so, most replacement computer equipment is shipped in rather than purchased from a local supplier.

It is critical for business continuity planners to be familiar with the Stafford Act and FEMA rules for funding disaster recovery.  Take the time to study the Act or take a course from FEMA on its application to business.  Be prepared to justify why a replacement system has greater capacity than the one destroyed in the storm.