Complacency Can Be Expensive | Self Reliance and Preparedness Are Critical to Surviving Disasters

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September 14, 2019

Region VI - South Central Region News

Serving nearly 4 million small businesses in Louisiana, Arkansas,

Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

u s small business administration
Disaster Preparedness - plan ahead

Complacency Can Be Expensive

Self-reliance and preparedness are critical to surviving disasters

Region 6 Regional Administrator, Justin Crossie

By Regional Administrator Justin Crossie 

Sitting in my Louisiana kitchen, I remember watching the morning news report about a small tropical depression named Katrina forming out in the Caribbean waters. Like other Lousianans, I had seen this sort of thing before and did not give much thought to what was about to happen.

Two days later, Tropical Storm Katrina is now Hurricane Katrina churning faster and more forcefully, growing wider, and ultimately spinning into one of the costliest storms in U.S. history. You know the rest of the story.

Major disasters tend to break apart, burn down and flood our feelings of complacency, exposing our lack of preparation to deal with the aftermath. During September National Disaster Preparedness Month, we’re urging everyone to put a plan in place now. You’ll rebound sooner with less impact to your nerves and financial reserves.

Photo of Hurricane flooded neighborhood

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster team is on the ground within days following a declared disaster. SBA helps rebuild homes, businesses and communities by providing affordable, loans to businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, including churches, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses.

Nearly $5 billion in SBA disaster loans were approved between fiscal years 2015 and 2018 in the South Central Region states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. These loans supported about 70,000 applicants with critically needed funds in the wake of tornadoes, floods, droughts and hurricanes. 

Photo of tornado damage to a home

Having lived through Hurricane Katrina, I take the following steps seriously to protect me and my family:

  • Review your hazard and flood coverage to ensure your policy is in effect before a storm hits.
  • Keep your insurance policy information, phone numbers for your insurance agent and the claims department handy.
  • Know who you can call to help you clean/rebuild your business and have a restoration plan in place so you can focus on the task of quickly reopening your business.
  • Keep an updated list of all your employees’ contact numbers and email addresses to ensure safety, as well as keeping everyone in the loop about the recovery progress.
  • Obtain a line of credit or have enough cash to run your business for at least three months.
  • Move your important business records, personal memorabilia and anything that’s irreplaceable to an offsite location. Save as much as you possibly can to the cloud.

I like to keep copies and photos of my important documents in zip lock bags stuffed in tightly sealed plastic containers in a safe place.

As Hurricane Katrina got closer, a lot of people took medicine and packed bags for a 3-day weekend. However, some people couldn’t get back to their homes for weeks and months. Always keep an emergency kit stocked and ready to grab and go with essential family and business needs.

Hurricane Katrina began as a small of a storm and turned into a roaring monster. None of us ever thought it would happen to us. But it did. As we are witnessing with Hurricane Dorian, storms continue to brew, and disaster continues to strike. The results of complacency can be expensive. Backing up and preparing now is cheap.

Are you prepared to recover when disaster strikes? Can you prove that your company even existed? Can you prove you had the items that were lost?

Although the federal government stands ready to help, self-reliance and preparedness is the key. For more information, visit

National Preparedness Month webinar on September twenty-fourth at two o’clock pm Eastern Daylight Time

Need help preparing your home or business in the event of a disaster?

Register for this free webinar

hosted by @SBAgov and @FORTIFIEDHOME 

September 24

#PreparedNotScared #BeReady

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Edward Haddock

Arkansas District

Edward Haddock, Director

Herb Austin

Dallas-Fort Worth District

Herb Austin, Director

Dante Acosta, El Paso District Director

El Paso District

Dante Acosta, Director

Tim Jeffcoat

Houston District

Tim Jeffcoat, Director

Mike Ricks

Louisiana District

Mike Ricks, Director

Angela Burton

Lower Rio Grande Valley District

Angela Burton, Director

Calvin Davis

Lubbock-West Texas District

Calvin Davis, Director

John Garcia

New Mexico District

John Garcia, Director

Dorothy "Dottie" Overal

Oklahoma District

Dottie Overal, Director

Anthony Ruiz

San Antonio District

Anthony Ruiz, Director