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Meadowlands Chamber, Donovan, OEM host disaster preparedness conference

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The Meadowlands Regional Chamber is hosting a disaster preparedness conference at Bergen Community College next week to prepare a sustainability plan that will allow businesses to keep running should a hurricane or other serious emergency occur.

Set for a week from Wednesday, the event will “draw from the expertise of technology experts, insurance professionals, government officials and utility companies to assist local organizations in developing a business continuity plan in the case of an emergency, such as when the region endured devastation after Hurricane Sandy last year and Hurricane Irene in 2011,” Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan said this afternoon.

The Bergen County Office of Emergency Management will be a key player in the plan, she said.

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan (CLIFFVIEW PILOT PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia)

“This conference is a call to action for all small- and medium-sized businesses who have not yet thought about how to protect and sustain their companies,” said Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber. “A public private partnership is critical for the greatest success and this symposium gets right to the heart of that premise.”

Donovan is slated to speak, as is Bergen OEM Lt. Matthew Tiedemann and executives from PSE&G, United Water and Verizon Communications.

Besides describing how the chamber’s more than 1,000 members can best to obtain and exchange information in the event of an emergency, the presenters will “clarify the processes and protocols in effect during a natural disaster or state of emergency,” Donovan said.

Risk managers and insurance executives from New Manufacturers Insurance Company (NJM) will review the procedures and programs designed to protect business assets in case disaster strikes. Experts from technology companies will reveal enterprise level systems that are available to small and midsized companies looking to protect their data and information.

Attendees will also hear from representatives of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, American Red Cross and Bergen County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

As Donovan noted, Hurricane Sandy forced the shutdown of many area businesses, some for several weeks. Gov. Christie has estimated overall losses to New Jersey businesses at more than $30 billion.

“After enduring the effects of two recent hurricanes we must be diligent in preparing ourselves and our businesses for whatever nature throws at us,” Kirkos said. “Being proactive and learning lessons from these recent storms will help us save lives and businesses in the future.

“Too many of our members suffered personal and business losses,” he added, “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 in the future.”

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