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Before Disaster Strikes - Forum Recap

On Wednesday, November 14th, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Union Square Partnership, and the Village Alliance presented Before Disaster Strikes - A Small Business Forum on Emergency Preparedness that offered vital information on the ways area businesses can weather emergencies. The event was hosted by Con Edison at their Union Square headquarters.

"Businesses, both new and established, should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to address all types of business-disrupting emergencies," said Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Deputy Director Kurt Cavanaugh. "We were proud to partner with colleagues in Union Square and Greenwich Village to create a forum that offered valuable lessons learned from disasters, both large and small."

The Forum began with a welcome from Con Edison and introductory remarks from Union Square Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk. Union Square Partnership Deputy Director Scott Hobbs then led an hour-long panel discussion with Mickey Slevin, Senior Regional Director of General Assembly New York; Renée Typaldos, Owner of Flatiron restaurant Merakia; Benjamin Newman, Executive Director for Growth Services at NYC Department of Small Business Services; and Kathryn Howard, Deputy Director of Public/Private Initiatives at NYC Emergency Management. 

Over the course of an hour, panelists provided attendees with clear counsel on how to prepare for - and respond to - any emergency. Among the key takeaways:

  • Build a list of emergency contacts, including City agencies (such as NYC Emergency Management and NYC Department of Small Business Services)
  • Ensure all contacts (staff, building owners, property managers, clients) are housed in the cloud and not just on an office computer (and provide everyone a printed version)
  • Make sure multiple people are aware of how to access contacts
  • Back up documents on multiple systems to be able to access remotely
  • Perform dry runs to test responses and troubleshoot before an emergency takes place
  • After an emergency, keep a log/journal of all tasks (times, dates, steps) and keep every receipt
  • Carefully review your insurance policies to understand what is covered, and what isn't before an emergency takes place

To learn more about the event, and for tips from the organizations and agencies involved, click here.

Panel, left to right: Kathryn Howard, Deputy Director, NYC Emergency Management; Mickey Slevin, General Manager, General Assembly; Renée Typaldos, Owner, Merakia; Benjamin Newman, Executive Director, NYC Department of Small Business Services

Photo Credit: Liz Ligon

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