Active shooters. Terrorists. Weather-related storms. Cyber attacks. All of these are worries, and are even tougher to deal with when you’re in a large, urban area like New York City, or even in Marietta.
Ironically, the Marietta-based non-profit will lead a discussion this Thursday at the World Trade Center, over the same ground where terrorists struck in 2001.
“There’s a sense of sacredness in holding a meeting here,” noted Safe America CEO Len Pagano. “We’re holding this meeting to motivate America to pick up the tempo, and realize that there are more crises ahead. The hope is that we can minimize their negative impact, and keep on living our lives positively.”
Pagano noted that Safe America Chairperson Kim Ryan, a WellStar Senior Vice President and the chief executive for Atlanta Medical Center, will help lead the discussion. Mrs. Ryan, who lived in New Orleans during Katrina, will share her insights into what can be done to help reduce disasters’ impact.
Also attending the meeting and speaking will be Cobb Police Chief Michael Register, who will reflect on a new type of policing that can improve communities’ safety; and Crawford and Company Vice President Nancy Hamlet reflecting on how drones can be utilized in post-disaster situations.
“Georgia is making a significant contribution to American business, but what’s also apparent is the leadership we’re offering the country in disaster resiliency,” Pagano observed. “To realize that we have UPS, The Home Depot, WellStar and the Marietta Daily Journal, all helping Safe America stage this national meeting, is quite a compliment to our region.”
Pagano added that Safe America has held annual meetings in the New York area, to engage firms in preparedness activities such as disaster practice drills. This month, Safe America will host its sixth annual meeting – this time, focused on planning an evacuation drill in New York for a multi-story building.
“We’re trying to raise the bar and join FEMA in getting New Yorkers to recognize that you can’t be ready to handle an emergency if you haven’t practiced how to handle an emergency,” said Safe America CEO Len Pagano. “We’re proud of the work firms like CNA and NBC have done through our BE Safe America program, and want more firms to consider mass evacuation drills to see just how they would get hundreds of employees out safely from a high rise in under an hour.”
Pagano noted that cyber risks are another growing issue that will be addressed, with new Board member Jessica Robinson (CEO of PurePoint Int’l) leading a task force that is planning a global online exercise this October 26. Fellow Board member Kathleen Lucey (of Montague Consultants) is helping develop a scenario that will involve a live drill from Atlanta-to-New York-to Sydney, Australia – and beyond.
“Putting this together is in itself an accomplishment, as we’re building through our WorldSafe and CEO Network programs a group that will engage firms in anticipating how to react to an emergency and then share advice and action steps to minimize the impact of a disaster,” Pagano added.
Safe America will be working with the Center for Personal Preparedness Safety (CPPS) out of the Washington, D.C. area to help train individuals, community groups, and firms with how to respond to active shooters. The Cobb Police Department and WellStar Atlanta Medical Center are also offering their training resources, with a special ‘Training Camp’ being planned on October 28 at the Omni Hotel during the WorldSafe Summit in Atlanta.
“We’re honored that Safe America was invited to host this preparedness briefing at the World Trade Center,” noted Len Pagano. “Having a memory of what happened here on 9/11 makes this a truly meaningful event,” he added.
In October, Safe America will bring together some of the same organizations locally for the inaugural “WorldSafe Summit’ at WSB-TV. Cobb County firms, church and civic organizations are invited to participate, with Cobb Chamber members offered a $100 discount through September 1. For more information, contact Gwen McDaniel or Bob Surrusco at (770)-973-7233.