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Chamber To Host Disaster Preparedness Conference For Businesses

A year after the state was impacted by Hurricane Irene and other storms, and thousands of businesses were forced to close, a program is being presented July 10 in Paramus to prepare businesses for the worse.

Although the 2012 hurricane season is not in full swing, county entities are not leaving anything to chance.

The Meadowlands Regional Chamber is teaming up with the Bergen County Executive’s Office and the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management to help local businesses develop a business continuity plan in the case of an emergency.

“Recent severe weather incidents along with a minor earthquake that rumbled our region show just how vulnerable and unprepared we are,” said Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber. “This conference is a call to action for all small and medium sized businesses who have not thought about how to protect and sustain their companies.”

The event will be held Tuesday at Bergen Community College Technology Education Center at the Paramus Campus from 8:00am to 2:00pm. Bergen County Office of Emergency Management will be showcasing emergency vehicles in the parking lot in front of the Technology Education Center.

County and municipal officials will highlight resources available to businesses and provide the best methods to develop a business continuity plan in case operations are impacted or interrupted due to a disaster.

Highlights include how to operate business if severe weather prevents employees from getting to work, how to sustain business without power for days, and assessing if the business has adequate insurance coverage in case of a disaster.   

“Too many of our members suffered personal and business losses so we feel it is our obligation as a business service organization to help provide our members and the broader business community with good information that could help prevent financial disaster after the storm,” Kirkos added.   

County Executive Kathleen Donovan is expected to give the opening address while PSE&G and United Water will inform attendees on the most effective methods to receive communication during outages and service disruptions. They will also clarify the processes and protocols in effect during a natural disaster or state of emergency.

In addition to chamber and county presentations, risk managers and insurance executives will review step by step procedures and programs designed to protect business assets in case disaster strikes.

One business forced to close after Hurricane Irene is MRC member Action Graphics. 

“I had moved my business to Lincoln Park, home of more excessive flooding, business closings and near several area towns where police departments essentially shut down towns,” said Rick Dabagian, VP of Sales at Action Graphics. [I] couldn't go in or move freely from within.”

“Any idea what that means when you are running a business?” Dabagian added. “The managing partner [of Action Graphics] and myself will be attending this important disaster seminar and we encourage others to consider the ‘what if’. It's a matter of when and not if.”

For more information regarding the event, contact: Joseph Garavente at JGaravente@meadowlands.org or call 201-939-0707.

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