Private Sector Encouraged to Strengthen Terrorism, Disaster Preparedness

Ironically, September is National Preparedness Month, and the Business Roundtable is calling on companies to improve disaster preparedness and to remind their employees to be vigilant and better prepared at work and at home.

The roundtable, an association of 160 CEOs of the nation's leading companies, is a member of the National Preparedness Month Coalition and is joining with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the American Red Cross to promote business and family preparedness.

"Following the 9/11 attacks, President Bush reminded us that we all have roles to play in the battle against terrorism," said Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp. and chairman of the Roundtable's Security Task Force. "The attacks transformed our nation's security landscape and showed us that companies, employees and their families must join with the government to protect our people and our corporate assets."

He pointed out that America's businesses own and operate 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructure and have a unique role to play in improving security. Said Smith, "CEOs have stepped forward to improve security at their offices and facilities, better communicate with employees regarding response to threats, and tighten their relationships with the federal government to be better informed of potential threats. But we must do more."

The roundtable is taking a number of steps to commemorate National Preparedness Month. Smith has urged all CEO members to renew the focus of their companies on preparedness, and the roundtable is providing materials on actions businesses can take for the industry booth at the National Preparedness Month kick-off in Washington D.C. with DHS, the Red Cross and other coalition members. In addition, the Roundtable will offer tips this month on its Web site, www.businessroundtable.org.

The Roundtable's involvement in the National Preparedness Month Coalition follows the May release and distribution of two comprehensive CEO guides designed to improve the private sector's readiness for infrastructure disruptions, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

"As CEOs, we know that new security challenges require new approaches and strategies," Smith said. "That is why the roundtable pulled together the best thinking of CEOs and top company security experts into two guides – one on risk assessment and the other on crisis management – offering practices that will help make companies more alert, better prepared and safer."

"Committed to Protecting America: A Private Sector Crisis Preparedness Guide" offers smart practices and planning checklists essential for crisis management, including employee communication, evacuation and business continuity. The second guide, "Committed to Protecting America: CEO Guide to Security Challenges," is a first-ever compilation of best management practices and key security lessons learned by CEOs who are facing new and evolving security threats. Both guides are available free-of-charge to the wider business community on the roundtable's Web site.

"By incorporating these into the heart of our companies' operations, CEOs are working to create a culture of security that will prevent incidents and put in place procedures and systems to deal with emergencies – whether a tornado, an earthquake or a terrorist attack," Smith added.

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