Workshop prepares business owners on disasters

Workshop prepares business owners on disasters

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Devastating fires on Main Street in Duncan last year were a wake up call to business owners and on Monday, they got a free workshop to learn how to be prepared in case a fire were to ever happen again.

Along with small business owners, there were also representatives from Duncan Regional hospital and the Duncan Fire department there to learn more about emergency preparedness.

Representatives from the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center led the workshop. They gave advice on everything from preparing for a natural disaster to protecting information from cyber attacks.

After working at Duncan Regional Hospital and living in the Duncan area during multiple natural disasters, such as the major ice storm in 2010 Patty Wininger a Registered Nurse and Emergency Manager at the hospital says you can never be too prepared.

"The winter storm of 2010 when our entire community and region was without power for a week or more and the things that occurred with power outages, food shortages, lack of oxygen, medications, people needing care and support of one instance of where the community pulled together, but we learned many things from that," said
Wininger."How to be more resilient and better prepared."

She also learned more about online security and the importance of changing passwords and keeping Wifi private.

"We have just got to do a better job of educating and training and all working together because you just never know what's going to hit," said
Wininger. "It's always the unexpected that you didn't prepare for."

And for the business owners along Main Street Duncan who invested so much into their businesses before they were destroyed by fire last summer.
Dave Williams, a representative from the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center advises them to do everything they can to make sure those businesses will survive and recover from not only fires, but floods, ice storms or even computer hacks.

"You need to make sure that you have your data backed up," said Williams. "You need to make sure that you know how to contact people, otherwise you can lose everything. The really critical issue is, if the business closes down for more than 7 days, the likelihood of them re-opening gets higher and higher in terms of not being able to re-open."

Wininger gives her advice to other emergency managers or business owners in preparing for or recovering from disasters at their workplace.

"You need to think about it now," said Wininger. "What do you do and how do you protect it and the goal is, obviously to get back online. So what are those steps you can take today to get yourself back online to have those mechanisms in place."

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