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Disaster, Are You Prepared?
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When a natural disaster occurs lives are drastically disrupted. There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. First step is to identify the hazards that have happened or could happen in your local area. Contact your local Emergency management offices. The staff are knowledgeable and equipped to identify the potential hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each type. Share the hazard-specific information with family members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan. Do you have a plan? How often is it reviewed and updated? Has it been discussed with family members?

Do you have a survival kit? A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. It should be assembled well in advance of an emergency. In the event of a disaster, you will not have time to search for supplies you need of shop for them. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. It could take hours or days and basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Join us to discuss preparedness and disaster assistance available after and event.

Episode Segments:
A Sharpe Outlook: Preparing for Disaster

If disaster strikes, are you ready? Do you have supplies? Do you know what to do? Our guest is James Rivera, and he is the associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. He has tips and advice so you will be ready should the worst occur.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
James Rivera
James Rivera is the associate administrator for SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Since September 2006, he has led several efforts to expand the agency’s disaster operations. Those changes include overseeing the introduction of an online disaster loan application, more efficient loan underwriting processes, and computer technology upgrades which resulted in quicker loan disbursements to homeowners, renters and businesses affected by disasters.

Rivera started his SBA career in 1989 as a loan specialist at the disaster field office in Ft. Worth, Texas. In that job, he processed home, business physical and economic injury (working capital) disaster loans. In 1994 he relocated to Washington, D.C., to work at SBA’s disaster operation’s headquarters. Before joining the SBA, Rivera worked as a commercial loan officer at several large banks in Texas. His lending experience includes marketing, negotiating, underwriting and closing transactions in commercial real estate.

Rivera was the assistant administrator for Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Compliance (EEO&CRC). He served as the principal agency adviser on civil rights policies and was responsible for administering, strengthening and improving the agency’s record on civil rights and equal employment opportunity. Before joining EEO&CRC in 2001, he was the deputy associate administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance where he was involved in managing all aspects of SBA’s disaster loan-making programs.

From 2002 to 2006, Rivera was the associate administrator in the Office of Financial Assistance. During his tenure administering the SBA’s 7(a), 504 and Microloan programs, lending records were broken each year, with an unprecedented level of capital provided to small businesses. In 2006, the SBA supported more than $20 billion in loans to small businesses.

In April 2012, Rivera received a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for his leadership in improving SBA’s disaster loan approval and disbursement processes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rivera is a graduate of Texas Tech University, holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance and economics.

Office of Disaster Assistance