PENINSULA - The Pacific County Economic Development Council is sponsoring its second "Ready, Respond, Recover" conference on Wednesday, Oct. 14, designed to help Pacific and Wahkiakum county and surrounding areas on the Columbia River businesses prepare for and survive unexpected man-made and natural disasters. The conference will be at the Chautauqua Lodge in Long Beach 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Statistics show that almost 40 percent of small businesses that close because of a disaster event never re-open. 'Ready, Respond, Recover' will provide expert advice to business owners and managers on critical issues like facility security, communications and finance. The Pacific County EDC is also providing free one-on-one coaching to business owners and managers who attend, to help them develop their own plan of action to survive disaster - whether a storm, fire, earthquake, vandalism, epidemic or an accident.

The first event, held last June, brought together local businesses and experts in security, finance and emergency communications to help strengthen the local community in case of a disaster. According to the EDC, the October event is designed to help even more businesses prepare for the unexpected.

"While we all like to think 'It can't happen to us,' the winter storms of the last few years have shown that just isn't true," says Dustin Mead, VP commercial relationships officer, ShoreBank Pacific. "Although business owners are already too busy running day-to-day operations, disaster planning is critical. An effective business disaster preparedness plan can help protect not only your assets, but also the safety of your family, employees, customers and community. We're pleased to support the Pacific County EDC's 'Ready, Respond, Recover' conference with 10 free scholarships to help our local businesses be more resilient when disaster strikes."

At the Ready, Respond, Recover conference, people will learn disaster planning tips from local experts and get personal coaching to create a plan for their business. Registration is $25 if before Sept. 18, and $35 thereafter. Call the EDC at 642-9330 to secure a spot.

Ready, Respond, Recover is made possible through an EDA Disaster Recovery Planning Grant, and with the cooperation of the Columbia-Pacific Resource Conservation and Economic Development District (Col-Pac).

More information about the event is available online at (www.pacificedc.org/conference.htm) or call 875-9330 for north Pacific County and 642-9330 for south Pacific County.

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