Workshop seeks to aid businesses 'When Disaster Strikes'
A seminar developed by federal and state agencies, along with local companies, is designed to help businesses plan for continuing operations in the event of a disaster of any size."When Disaster Strikes: How Will Your Business Survive?" will be presented at venues across the state during the month of June, and is being hosted by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development and USDA Rural Development, along with Cogent Solutions LLC, a Portsmouth-based business operations assessment firm, Laconia social media company Epiphanies Inc., and marketing firms PingPR and Montagne Communications, both of Manchester.The workshops will be held in all 10 New Hampshire counties to inform business owners and senior-level managers about business continuity, social media efforts and media relations to help local businesses to be better prepared if a natural or man-made disaster were to effect their daily operations. While the toll on human life is incalculable, businesses also are affected by tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters, and whether they can resume operations or not affects local economies and the fabric of communities as they recover.But they aren't always large-scale disasters. They can range from small-scale issues, such as an office's water pipe bursting, to an ice storm that shuts off electricity for days at a time."We believe education and preparation, especially in times of crisis, are essential to running any business," said Roy Duddy, interim director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. "The workshops are designed to be a hands-on learning situation with best practices on business continuity, social media, and media and public relations. Businesses who participate in the workshops will be engaged and given opportunities to learn how to be prepared before a crisis situation happens."The workshops, which are free, will begin at 8 a.m. and end at noon.The break-out sessions will focus on: • Business continuity -- How businesses, nonprofits and the public sector can use business continuity planning to prepare and to respond to emergency situations. Presented by Jeannette McDonald of Cogent Solutions LLC. • Web 2.0 disaster management -- How to use social networks to plan for and respond to emergency situations. Presented by Allen Voivod of Epiphanies Inc. • Public and media relations -- Communicating in a time of crisis, getting to know your local media before disaster strikes. Presented by Monica Bardier of PingPR and Scott Tranchemontagne of Montagne Communications.The workshop dates and locations are:June 2 - Tech Village, ConwayJune 7 - Centennial Hall, Keene State College, KeeneJune 9 - Pease Public Library, PlymouthJune 14 - White Mountains Community College, BerlinJune 16 - Division of Fire Standards Training and EMS Fire Academy, ConcordJune 21 - Hampton Police Department, HamptonJune 23 - Gilford Public Library, GilfordJune 28 - Claremont Savings Bank, ClaremontJune 29 - New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College, ManchesterJune 30 - Rochester Community Center, RochesterAdmission is free, but registration is required. Visit bit.ly/NHDisaster2011 to register and for more information. - CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW