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Conference Aims to Get Businesses on the Road to Readiness

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency's (RIEMA) business preparedness program is pleased to be hosting the first Business Continuity Conference on October 31. The event, co-sponsored with the Economic Development Corporation, is designed to help business owners improve their disaster preparedness plans and to provide practical instructions on how to successfully survive the aftermath of a disaster or weather-related emergency.

The keynote speaker is Donna Childs, a former senior executive of the world's leading reinsurance company. Childs has dealt with major disasters around the world every day. This experience was critical to her business and her home when lower Manhattan was declared a federal disaster area after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of Prisere LLC, a venture dedicated to building resilient small enterprises. Childs also consults for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction.

"A single disaster or weather-related event can devastate a business that is not prepared," said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. "This conference offers business owners the opportunity to make their business stronger and more resilient. As Governor, one of my primary goals is to keep businesses viable and keep them in Rhode Island – and preparedness is a key part of that process."

"Sometimes, the best way to learn about emergency preparedness is through the sharing of real-life experiences and best practices," said RIEMA Executive Director Theresa C. Murray. "All of our speakers have an expertise that will definitely benefit attendees. We hope this is the first of many business-related educational opportunities RIEMA can offer to our partners in the business community."

Other speakers will include members of the Rhode Island Cyber Disruption Team (CDT) and Pat Ryan, owner of Ryco Trimming Company & Creative Sewing Center. The CDT will present on protecting the State's critical infrastructure from cyber disruptions or malicious attacks. Ryan's business was flooded twice, and she will share tips on how a small business can prepare for, survive, and even recover from a disaster.

The conference will be held at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. It is free, however registration is required. Registration deadline is October 25.

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