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Metro businesses play crucial role in disaster response

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of businesses gathered at Union Station Tuesday to learn how to best respond to a terrorist attack.

The business response to disaster is just as important as the role of first responders.

Hospitals, railways and communications companies are all big employers in the metro area who are learning how to work together if there was three or four explosions within a couple of miles.

Our region has experienced more than it's fair share of disasters recently, with flooding along the Missouri River and severe weather that devastated communities with tornado damage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said there are a lot of similarities in any disaster response, where the focus is on coordination and communication of neighbors helping neighbors.

"The private sector is a critical aspect of any type of recovery no matter what the incident," Michael Cappannari said, external affairs director for FEMA. "Whether it's a natural disaster or heaven forbid, a terrorist attack, putting private sector in bushiness and trying to work with them so they are in the best position to bounce back after something has occurred, to get resources flowing again, to get the economy working again. It's of such importance. We really wanted to focus on that today."

Even restaurants and retailers have a role to play in disaster response. Response teams who just spent time in Jefferson City, Missouri and Golden City, Missouri, helping those communities bounce back from tornadoes, are conducting some of the training.

FEMA credits the Kansas City area for already having good cooperation.

Getting businesses familiar with each other before a disaster strikes helps better prepare our region for knowing what to do in times of chaos.

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