Preparedness & Recovery

Local Businesses Prepare for the Next Big Disaster

Disasters and businesses focused on helping businesses prepare for natural and man-made disasters such as tornadoes, severe storms, contagions or acts of terrorism.

by Joseph Alderman, Rockwall County Herald-Banner, Greenville, Texas / June 3, 2016

(TNS) - Managers and business owners in Rockwall were invited last week to attend the chamber of commerce’s “Disasters and Businesses” presentation.

Disasters and Businesses focused on helping businesses prepare for natural and man-made disasters such as tornados, severe storms, contagions or acts of terrorism.

The presentation was funded by a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The grant is intended to create programs to help businesses plan with government partners to prepare for emergencies.

Joe DeLane, emergency management coordinator for the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office, led the presentation.

“One of the things I do is I deal with disasters and emergencies,” Delane said. “I’ve been doing that for 35 years and I really see it as a public service. I really have a passion for responding to disasters.”

The Rockwall area is no stranger to disasters. Most recently, a tornado last December damaged or destroyed over 1000 homes in Rowlett. While DeLane said the response to that event went about as well as it possibly could, increased preparedness could minimize the effect of similar disasters in the future.

“I don’t want to be caught lacking in something we could have gotten done ahead of time,” DeLane said.

One of the biggest steps DeLane promoted in his presentation was to increase cooperation between businesses and local government. Not only would this allow businesses to have greater access to and awareness of government aid and contingency plans, but also give the government greater access to private business resources.

“We have a lot of businesses in our community that are very generous in disaster-type situations for first responders and for volunteers,” DeLane said.

DeLane also suggested businesses develop evacuation plans, have plans in place for protecting critical equipment and inventory and develop a business continuity plan.

Individuals or businesses that would like help establishing a business continuity plan were invited to attend classes hosted by the Rockwall County Emergency Management and Community Emergency Response Team. These semiannual classes, which are part of the KnoWhat2Do campaign, help businesses and home-owners associations develop emergency plans. The next occurs Oct 15 and 22.

Individuals can stay informed about disasters in the Rockwall area by texting 888777 to RCOEM to sign up for alert notifications from the Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management.

Schedules for training sessions and other RCOEM events can be found at www.rockwallcountytexas.com.

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©2016 the Rockwall County Herald-Banner (Greenville, Texas)

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