Red Cross official cites importance of disaster planning for businesses
COAL TOWNSHIP - Most homeowners have a plan in place in case of disaster - but what about businesses?
That was the question asked by Tom Szulanczyk, director of the SUN Area chapter of the American Red Cross, to business leaders Wednesday at a Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Brewser's SportsGrille.
Szulanczyk, who oversees the American Red Cross chapter covering Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties, spoke to 25 chamber members and guests about being prepared for disasters, such as fires, winter storms and floods.
"It is very important that a business has a contingency plan in case of a disaster," Szulanczyk said. "Most businesses that don't have a way to recover don't reopen."
He said the first step is to make an assessment of what kind of disasters a business is susceptible to, and to have a system for contacting all employees.
He invited all in attendance to visit the Red Cross' Readyrating.org website, which has free information and assessments on what a business needs to be disaster-ready.
While he encouraged businesses to prepare for outside disasters, he stressed it is just as important to know how to respond to an internal medical emergency. When businesses don't know what to do, "bad things happen," he said.
He told a story of a tree-cutting crew working at a home in his mother's neighborhood. A neighbor watching the workers suddenly fell over with a cardiac problem. Untrained, the six-man tree crew could only stand around. Szulanczyk's mother went door to door looking for someone who could help, but it was too late.
"The man died," Szulanczyk said.
With that, Szulanczyk segued into talking about hands-only CPR, which experts have recently endorsed as being as effective as traditional CPR.
Saying 100 compressions a minute are needed for effective CPR, Szulanczyk recommended using a popular disco tune to help keep the rhythm: the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."
To promote that method, the Red Cross distributes a small dense foam toy van that people can use to practice compressions. It provides a feel similar to pushing on someone's chest.
Wednesday's luncheon was sponsored by chamber members Harry Morgan and Steve Minker. Chamber director Whitney Fetterman reminded members about the upcoming golf tournament, which will be held Friday, May 9, at Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Course.
A moment of silence was offered for Dave Burns, husband of chamber president Pamela Brennan Burns, who passed away Monday after battling leukemia for more than 20 years.