When a catastrophic tragedy hits a local business, there are a multitude of worries and distresses running through an owner’s mind. How will we cater to our clients? What will happen to the employees? When can we return back to work?
On June 13th, a fire struck Thornapple Plaza in Valparaiso. Though the blaze did not spread through most of the building, smoke damage did seep into many of the businesses, including the Porter County Pet Clinic.
Veterinarian Jeff Weitzel recounts the moments he saw smoke in the office.
“First priority was getting all the clients and the employees out. Once they were out, I went back to take our digital files out of the office before they became damaged by the smoke.”
The Porter County Pet Clinic is partnered with Bucher Tech, a local IT support and security business. This company assists businesses and organizations like the Porter County Pet Clinic with systems backup and security protection on all client files and charts.
“Once everyone was safe and outside. I had my assistant Christy Ashford call BucherTech.” Weitzel explained the importance of these files, “We started digitizing our client files about 5 years ago. On an estimate, there are about 2,000-3,000 files we have saved thanks to BucherTech.”
Dustin Bucher, Senior Systems Engineer at BucherTech, explained that having the digital documents saved from the smoke by Weitzel, cut down the time to recover the files from that day’s work.
“We’re prepared for that offsite backup in situations like this. The type of backup the Clinic had was a file backup that automatically captures the full system’s work from that day. We were able to restore all files without issue, which is outstanding because of the sensitive data that the Porter County Pet Clinic had.”
Systems backup wasn’t the only way that BucherTech was able to assist against the damages from the day. The Valparaiso Fire Department was using drones to detect the hotspots on the roof to locate where the fire may have spread and to extinguish it before the blaze could advance.
“We assist the VFD with a lot of their Tech as well,” Bucher continued, “Technology is to the point where if it is not in place, companies, businesses, and organizations can’t operate effectively.”
With the Pet Clinic’s sensitive files secured and all client info kept intact, the next challenge laid ahead: Where to go to open a temporary clinic to continue to serve clients.
While the VPD continued to battle the fire, Weitzel received a call from Mortland Animal Clinic across the street.
“Thomas Covault from Mortland called me after he heard about the fire, pretty much while the fire was still going on,” Weitzel continued, “He invited us over to rent some space that they had available in their clinic. Thanks to that phone call, we were up and going by 8 a.m. the next morning.”
A challenge for the temporary setup at Morthland Animal Clinic was replacing the supplies lost in the fire. Most of the supplies were repurchased by the Porter County Pet Clinic, but during the process several other veterinary clinics were offering to donate supplies to keep the clinic running.
“It’s really an awful thing that we and the other business owners had to endure, but it’s an amazingly positive response from the community and the other clinics in the area. It's amazing to see how supportive they are and we’ve very appreciative of that.”
With the combination of new supplies, space made available to rent, and essential client documents intact, Porter County Pet Clinic is able to continue business as usual until the Clinic reopens.
“It really is amazing how everyone came together to not just help out the clinic, but to make sure their clients’ pets were getting the care they need.” Bucher added.
Valparaiso, IN 46383
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