September is – National Preparedness Month
— EVERYBODY AND EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS A PLAN
How quickly your company can get back to business after a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood or a terrorist attack often depends on emergency planning done today. It is estimated that less than 40% of small businesses without a plan will reopen.
When you also consider that the number of declared major disasters nearly doubled in the 1990s compared to the previous decade, preparedness becomes an even more critical issue. Though each situation is unique, any organization can be better prepared if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place, and practices for all kinds of emergencies.
Business continuity planning must account for both manmade and natural disasters. You should plan in advance to manage any emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business.
Plan to Stay in Business
Continuity Planning: Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, determine which staff members, what materials and equipment and what procedures are necessary to keep the business operating.
Make The Plan: Decide who should work on preparing you emergency plan. Consider a cross section of people throughout you company. Focus on those with expertise on running your company on a daily basis. This will likely include executives, managers and those with technical skills.
Identify: Make a list of important customers and plan a way to serve them after the disaster. Also, consider your supply chain that you deal with daily. You may consider having more than one business relationship per category in case your primary source can not service your needs if the situation shuts them down.
Communication: Figure out how you will communicate with your employees after and emergency has occurred. Do you have a website they can check or an out of town phone number that they can call. Often, local phone companies and cell phone providers can be down for a number of days.
Back-up: Keep copies of important papers, building plans, insurance policies, employee contact information, bank records, customer and supplier information and computer backups in a water and fire proof container and if possible a second set at an off site location.
Then: Plan what you will do if your facility is inaccessible . Define procedures and individual responsibilities for post event. Finally, discuss the plan with your staff and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency. Remember, as your business changes, you will need to make adjustments to your plan.