Businesses and Emergency Preparedness
On Thursday, September 15th, the Washington, DC Marketing Center held the “Emergency Preparedness Round II: Case Studies” Business Initiatives Breakfast. The event featured speakers Edward Reiskin, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice for the District of Columbia; Harold Nelson, Vice President, Director of Operations for Carr America; Mark Miller, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; and Charlie Gleichenhaus, Security Services Division, International Monetary Fund.
Mr. Reiskin explained to the capacity crowd the security initiatives in place and the additional security measures taken by the District’s police and fire departments. The District’s police department includes a multi-trained police force that is able to respond to a variety of emergency situations and crisis.
As a property manager for many years, Harold Nelson suggested that tenants in multi-office buildings learn more about other building tenants. He believes that neighboring businesses that share evacuation or emergency preparedness planning are better equipped in the case of an emergency situation.
The news from WMATA’s Mark Miller was informative and sobering. WMATA has trained more than 60,000 emergency first responders, purchased explosive resistant trash receptacles, added a trained bomb squad and evaluated the security needs of WMATA.
He spoke on the importance of individuals and companies having an evacuation plan that does not include the use of Metro rails or buses. Mr. Miller said that with a ridership of over 700,000 daily, the system could not be the only option to evacuate everuone from the city. In addition to Metro rails and buses, private transportation would be needed to accomodate a mass evacuation.
All of the speakers stressed the importance of businesses arming their workers with emergency preparedness knowledge. Employees should plan for an emergency by having evacuation procedures in place and coordination for internal and external communication. It is also important for businesses to practice their emergency preparedness strategies throughout the year.
To learn more about developing an emergency preparedness plan, go to www.mpdc.dc.gov.
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