By Edward Cardenas

STERLING HEIGHTS (CBS Detroit) – Donna Childs experience helping global businesses and governments minimize risks helped her prepare her own business in New York City following the 9/11 attacks.

The destruction of the twin towers, which was followed by the rescue and clean-up operations, was a challenge for her personally – her community was a staging area – and professionally because her business was located in the vicinity of the World Trade Center.

But her pre-planning helped her business remain open and operational following the attacks.

“A lot of people think you can’t prepare for something of scope and scale of 9/11 . I’m proof you can,” said Childs, author of “Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best.”

She said her worst case scenario was planning for a fire in the nearby Wall Street subway station, where her company would be out of the office for up to a week.

“That was sufficient to get us through the unthinkable,” she added.

Childs presentation Tuesday was part of a full morning of speakers who presented at Super Prepared Business Preparedness Conference at the Freedom Hill Banquet Center in Sterling Heights. In addition to speakers there was also demonstrations by Macomb County emergency response teams during the day-long conference.

She added that business owners should consider “high frequency, low severity” events such as a human error with deleting a file when planning for disasters. Once an imminent threat is addressed, businesses then gradually build for more serious disasters.

Michigan State Police First Lt. James Ellis, who oversees the cyber section, also presented at the conference, said both businesses and citizens can follow the same rules for cyber security including:

  • Be aware of the website you are visiting and check to make sure you have typed in the proper address,
  • Have a strong password,
  • Don’t use the same password on multiple websites,
  • Don’t give out credentials to anyone online or over the phone.

He recommends business owners, information technology professionals and even consumers become more aware of cyber security.