Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter
Business leaders in Denton County got some professional help to ensure they are ready for any emergency.
Denton County emergency responders are helping local businesses plan for disasters.
County Emergency Services held a two-hour seminar Wednesday for business leaders to discuss how to plan for disasters and other emergencies.
"Whether it may be a disaster or simply a business interruption, we want to train our businesses to be prepared," Denton County Emergency Services Director Jody Gonzalez said.
Tom Weems, of PreEmpt Inc., talked about how to integrate a disaster and disruption plan into their business. Such plans are used to keep business moving during anything from a natural disaster to a flu outbreak.
Businesses can be ready in the event that they can't access their building or computer systems and can continue to operate.
"According to FEMA, half of businesses that suffer a two-week disruption never reopen and, of those that do reopen, half fail within the next two years," Weems said.
Businesses also should regularly exercise their plan so it will work in times of need, he said.
Small, one-person businesses and some of the county's largest employers attended the seminar.
"We have, right now, about 540 employees," Mike Martinez, of CTDI. "We all remember the tornadoes from about a year ago now, and we just need to be prepared for instances like that."
"When you can't take care of your own family or your own business before you go do things, how can you help anybody?" said Dr. Jane Torrie, a Denton chiropractor who also volunteers with the county medical reserve corps.
Gonzalez said the county hopes that working with business leaders will help them be better prepared and, in turn, make sure their customers are safe in time of disaster.
"We have an idea of what the business' plan is, and we can merge and work together in designing those plans and make things flow and work a whole lot smoother," he said.
Rep. Michael Burgess will help a similar planning event for residents and families on from 8 a.m. to noon on April 27 at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club.