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To the Editor:
Last month, we witnessed a tragedy in Newcomerstown when the Janesville Acoustics facility was destroyed by fire.  This devastation impacted nearly 100 employees and the economic stability of our community.

While reports vary, as many as 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster like a flood, tornado or earthquake. These shuttered businesses probably were unprepared for a disaster; they had no plan or backup systems.

In October, the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce hosted a business disaster planning workshop titled:  Plan, Prepare and Protect your Business.  It focused on this exact topic of business preparedness and continuity. 

The Janesville officials are on the right track with their plan and working hard to put the pieces back together.  The community is behind all those involved. 

This is a tough reminder that prior planning and smart response is a must.  When you start to develop your disaster plan, consider three subjects: human resources, physical resources and business continuity. Think about how a disaster could affect your employees, customers and workplace.

Everyone in your facility should know how to prepare for a disaster and what to do if a disaster occurs.  Gather specific information about how to stay safe in a tornado, earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or other hazard.

You may also want check out the Red Cross Ready Rating program, a preparedness program offering tools to help businesses, schools and organizations evaluate and improve emergency preparedness, at www.readyrating.org or call us at 330.343.8633.  Preparedness can help keep us safe and open for business.
                                            
Chad Conrad
Director
American Red Cross
Carroll, Harrison & Tuscarawas Counties

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