Press Release

For Immediate Release


Special guests discuss the importance of preparing businesses before emergencies


May 2, 2018 – When emergencies occur, businesses without a plan are more likely to suffer losses. In many cases, businesses never recover. In the latest “Prep Talk” episode, the New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) unlock the keys to building businesses that are more resilient. In recognition of National Small Business Week, April 29 to May 5, “Prep Talk” hosts chat with Bernadette Nation, executive director of emergency response & intergovernmental services at SBS, Benjamin Newman, executive director of growth services at SBS, and Kathryn Howard, deputy director of public/private initiatives at NYC Emergency Management. The guests discuss the importance of preparedness and outline the resources available to build thriving businesses.

“It doesn’t take a lot of time and money to prepare your business before an emergency. This episode outlines key steps that business owners can take toward making their businesses more resilient,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.

“As New Yorkers, we know that anything can happen and our small businesses should know that the City can help them prepare for the worst while they hope for the best,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “At SBS, we’re providing the resources and support business owners need to be proactive against potential emergencies to ensure that they can stay open for business.”

New York City Emergency Management and SBS have outlined five pillars for preparing a business before an emergency:

  1. Understand the hazards – business owners should consider how different types of emergencies caused by natural and man-made hazards, including fires, severe weather, and telecommunication and transportation disruptions can affect their business.
  2. Plan to stay in business – identify operations that are crucial to business functions and recovery; determine which staff, materials, procedures, contacts and equipment are necessary to keep your organization operating; make a list of the most important contacts/clients; coordinate with vendors, suppliers, and others you depend on to do business; keep copies of important records you may need to rebuild in a waterproof, fireproof, portable container.
  3. Talk to your employees – it is important to talk to your employees often about what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  4. Protect your investment – it is important to protect your company’s physical and virtual assets by reviewing your insurance coverage and understanding what your policy covers.
  5. Know how to respond – every business should have an emergency action plan focusing on alerting employees to an emergency or an evacuation, the method for reporting emergencies to local officials, and evacuation plans. For more information, visit 5.

Click to listen to episode 10 on SoundCloud and iTunes. For more information and resources about preparing your business, visit

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit, call 311, and follow SBS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

National Small Business Week

Since 1963, the president of the Unites States has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. This year, National Small Business Week runs from April 29 to May 5 with national events planned in Washington, D.C, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina along with a three-day virtual conference May 1 through May 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT. The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without traveling.  Virtual Conference viewers will be able to watch educational webinars, get free business advice and network with fellow business owners. You can view the Washington, D.C. award ceremonies and workshops on digital commerce and social media via live stream at For more information about National Small Business Week, visit here.


Bernadette Nation provides a unique service to the New York City small businesses as Executive director of emergency response and intergovernmental services. Over the last 20 years, Ms. Nation has managed her team to respond to more than one thousand business emergencies and assisted more than ten thousand businesses.  Bernadette and her team members are experts on the public/private resources available to the small business community and share that knowledge directly with the small business owner through business recovery meetings, business expos, merchant meetings within the city’s business communities, and during business emergencies. Bernadette Nation is dedicated to serving the small business community and looks forward to continuing to support the economic growth of more than two hundred thousand small businesses that operate in New York City.

Benjamin Martinez Newman is the executive director for growth services at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. In this role, he oversees a portfolio of business programs aimed at helping businesses grow and thrive in NYC, including, among others, the Business Preparedness and Resiliency Program (Business PREP).  Before joining city government, Mr. Newman worked as an associate consultant at McKinsey & Company. He holds a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Kathryn Howard is the deputy director of public/private initiatives at the New York City Emergency Management Department, where she conducts targeted outreach to businesses of all sizes and industries. Howard strives to enhance the preparedness and resiliency of New York City’s private sector, most notably through the nationally recognized Partners in Preparedness program. She also manages the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service, a fellowship program for graduate students interested in pursuing careers in emergency management and public service. Howard has responded to many emergencies in New York City as a member of the agency’s leadership team, and deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane response efforts. Howard holds a bachelor’s in political science from Binghamton University and a master’s in public administration from Baruch College.

NYC Emergency Management ‘Prep Talk’ Podcast Series:

Get ready for your emergency prep talk! NYC Emergency Management has launched “Prep Talk,” a new podcast series that engages listeners about emergency management topics. Listen as NYC Emergency Management hosts Omar Bourne and Allison Pennisi talk with guests who keep our city safe and prepared before, during and after emergencies. You can listen to “Prep Talk” on SoundCloud and iTunes, and subscribe now to stay up-to-date on the latest episodes.


MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Silvestri/Omar Bourne (718) 422-4888

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