How quickly your company can get back to business after a terrorist attack, tornado, fire, or flood often depends on emergency planning done today. While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working hard to prevent terrorist attacks, the regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While recognizing that each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place, and practices for all kinds of emergencies.
This guide outlines commonsense measures that business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. A commitment to planning today will help support employees, customers, the community, the local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival. Every business should have a plan. Get ready now.
Plan to stay in business
Business continuity planning must account for both man-made and natural disasters. You should plan in advance to manage any emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation and use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers, and your business’s recovery.
Continuity Planning/Risk Assessment can be a sophisticated area of expertise that ranges from self-assessment to an extensive engineering study. Your organization’s risk needs will vary according to the specific industry, size, scope, and location of your individual company. Start by reviewing your business process flow chart (if one exists) to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
You should also establish procedures for succession of management. Include co-workers from all levels in this plan as active members of the emergency management team.
Make a list of your most important customers and proactively plan ways to serve them during and after a disaster. Also identify key suppliers, shippers, resources, and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.
Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not accessible. Talk with your staff or co-workers and frequently review and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency.
Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. Review and update your plans at least annually and inform your employees of the changes.