By Pat Loeb

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Ninety percent of Chester County lost power during the ice storm earlier this month, including local businesses (see related story), and county officials would like to get them some help recovering.

Officials are now urging businesses to apply for federal assistance through the county web site.

Just how damaging was that ice storm?  That’s what Chester County emergency services planning coordinator Jeff Emmons says he is trying to find out.

“We’re trying to figure out what small businesses were affected,” he said today, “so what we need is to gather the information so we can see if we can make a case to get low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration to help out those small businesses.”

Emmons hopes at least five businesses will fill out the form at That’s the threshold to qualify for getting the help.

“And if we meet those five businesses,” he says, “we can roll it up to the state and up to the Small Business Administration.”

Emmons says county officials have heard lots of stories about losses during the outage that, in some cases, persisted for a week. But so far, he notes, no one has filled out the form for help.

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