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Raleigh Business Owners Get Crash Course In Emergency Preparedness

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Before the events of Sept. 11, terrorism was not something that Raleigh business leaders thought they had to worry about, but times have changed. Now they are trying to figure out what they can do to help keep people safe.

Local business owners are trying to plan for scenarios that seemed unlikely, even impossible, a few months ago. Many small businesses do not have the resources they need to create preparedness plans. Tuesday morning, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce brought the resources to them.

Experts in the fields of law enforcement, the military and public health gathered to share information and answer questions.

Wake County health officials told business owners how they handle anthrax scares and testing. Military and legal experts helped employers understand what their obligations are to workers who are called to military duty.

Police told them to plan ahead, and be prepared, in case, disaster strikes their workplace.

"There is a simple saying that I say to people, 'When the time to respond has come, the time to prepare has gone,' so I think employers and employees should practice scenarios," said Raleigh police chief Jane Perlov. "They should say 'What would we do if a letter or a package came in that made us uncomfortable and raised our suspicions?'"

A special unit that was formed to respond to anthrax scares was answering 20 or 30 calls a day in October, when contaminated mail first started appearing in the United States. Lately, they have been called just a few times a day.

Raleigh police say there have been no credible threats of terrorism in the city.


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