Business leaders learn how to prepare for disasters

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Are area businesses prepared for a disaster as big as the Joplin tornado?

That's the question being asked at a seminar Wednesday in Cape Girardeau.

The answer is that some are, but most are not.

That's according to Rob O'Brian, President of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce.

He says that's not surprising though, because most businesses, while aware of the threat of natural disasters wait too late to prepare for the big one.

O'Brian says there are three things businesses can do to be better prepared.

The first is to have a disaster plan.

The second is to have a back-up of all records and data, and keep them at an offsite location.

Also keep all contacts in your cell phone. While phone calls may not go through after a disaster, text messages often continue to work.

Lastly, O'Brian says if your business survives a big natural disaster, be ready to be busy.

"Our businesses that were still in operation said people were looking for any place with good information and resources," O'Brian said.  "You don't realize how busy you wind up being.  It's very frenetic and hard to keep track of things."

Other topics included FEMA response plans, emergency plans, building safety and working with the media during an emergency.

There were also vendors on hand with resources to help businesses prepare for disasters.

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