As we finish this issue, U.S. and British troops are attacking portions of Afghanistan – the first visible retaliation since terrorist attacks on the U.S. Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Center, Sept. 11, took the lives of thousands of Americans and altered the lives of millions more.

These attacks may bring a new sense of unease for some people, but they also are a sign that the U.S. has moved from reacting to last month’s horrible events to ensuring that we all are safer in the future.

In this issue, we hope to do the same. While we regretfully report the losses some industry members have had in relation to Sept. 11, we also have provided a plan of action to help building service contractors prepare their companies for potential emergencies on any scale. We are by no means offering an end-all solution, but we have gathered worthwhile information to help contractors prepare their staffs in the event a disaster strikes locally.

In the course of reporting for this article, we were surprised by the number of contractors who help their customers safeguard their facilities and their occupants against small-scale disasters of fire, tornado or even industrial incidents, but who don’t think about what could happen to their own workers in these situations. It is easy to forget such contingency planning when many BSCs constantly are working to keep up with customer requests, and it can be tough to predict every possible problem. Yet, if taking that time could make a life-and-death difference for just one person, most BSCs would agree it would be well worth the effort.

So, while you might not be able to contribute much to our contry’s new war on terrorism, you can prepare your employees for more common incidents they might face in the course of their work. Showing that you care and that you want them to be prepared just may be what they need these days to help allay their fears.

Another thing you can do is to effectively communicate with workers regarding account slowdowns that could mean lay-offs, such as in hospitality or other travel-related industries. Another worthwhile gesture is to make employees aware of new accounts you have acquired, to help them feel that the company remains stable in an otherwise rocky time.

Lastly, we encourage you to contribute what you can to the various funds setup to help displaced World Trade Center service workers and the families of those who are injured or missing. Click here for more information.