We only need to look at weather events the past few years, to realize disasters hit home when we least expect them. Most would agree it would be unwise to knowingly live in a home without smoke detectors, or have a plan to evacuate and call 911 in the event of a fire emergency – yet many of us do not have a basic plan to handle a weather disaster either at home or work.
How will you communicate and prioritize what needs to happen once a disaster has already occurred? This can be a life or death scenario, which should garner our respect and attention in where we live, work, and play. In today’s business environment a basic plan, which is rehearsed and understood by all parties ahead of the storm, can be worth thousands – if not millions – of disaster recovery dollars.
Make it a priority to plan and respond with the following priorities for your disaster plan.
- Develop a disaster planning team to handle mission critical business activities, functions, staffing and manage supply needs for various emergency response scenarios. The team should be committed to employee safety and minimizing business interruption.
- Implement a crisis communication plan with a multi-layered system to communicate with all involved employees and their families, emergency personnel, senior management, and local authorities both fast and efficient.
- Clearly define organizational policies for leave and sick time. Expectations should be established for salaried employees in the event they or their families are affected by a disaster and cannot report to work.
- Cross train all critical personnel to insure best response for employees who are not available during an emergency.
- Think locally. Establish a link with local vendors, business partners, and authorities to review evacuation procedures and how those will be communicated across all levels in an emergency situation. These should vary by scenario.
- Think regionally. Develop plan to hire primary and secondary responders to help you get back on your feet quickly in the event of a major catastrophic event. Contingency agreements which guarantee response time, resources and pricing can be invaluable.
- Be prepared to work remotely. Insure your ability to work off-site and communication capabilities across all channels to ensure business continuity.
- Everyone should rehearse and practice drill with their companies and families. This will help to ensure that everyone understands what to expect in the event of an actual emergency.
- Educate and share your knowledge with others in your industry, insurance carrier, and local private and public companies in your community.
Disaster Planning and Priority Response is everyone’s responsibility. Step up the challenge and share best practices across industries to continually update and rehearse your plan. Finally, be sure to train staff, family, and loved ones to execute your disaster plan during an actual emergency which will save lives, communities, and money.