Roanoke Valley businesses attend emergency preparedness seminar


ROANOKE, Va. – From fires and floods to active shooters, 30 Roanoke Valley businesses learned how to react and recover from unexpected situations at the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Seminar. 

"We want to make sure that businesses are able to be resilient in an emergency and restore their services very quickly after the event," said Marci Stone, emergency management coordinator for the city of Roanoke. 

Hosted at the Berglund Center with the help of local first responders, presentations focused on how to identify potential emergencies, ways to prepare and plan and how to train and recover. For Monty Williams, who works at AkzoNobel in Roanoke, the seminar was a chance to connect more locally. 

"It's important for us to understand what the local jurisdictions expect and what they provide and don't provide so that we can be better able to recover in that type of situation," said Williams. 

The first seminar was hosted in 2016. Soon after, FreightCar America enacted new policies to respond to active shooters. Months later, an active shooter killed one person, wounded three others and then killed himself. Emergency officials say that, without the training, the situation could have been much worse.

"They were able to account for over 380 personnel within a 30-minute time frame because of the policies and practices they had put in place," said Stone. 

The seminar runs solely on sponsors. Officials say that determines when they will host another one.