Since its beginning in 2004, National Preparedness Month is observed each September in the United States. Originally created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the campaign encourages people to make plans and preparations for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
While it can be argued every month is a “preparedness month” for business continuity, IT and disaster recovery professionals, September is nevertheless a good time to take stock of contingency plans and communicate important resiliency concepts to employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. Here are a few things you might consider in order to take advantage of the national focus on preparedness.
Encourage employees to have a family preparedness plan.
Business continuity plans rely on people to carry them out. The expectation is individuals will be available and willing to address the business crisis at hand. However, if the safety and security of employee’s families is uncertain, it will difficult, if not impossible, for them to focus on work-related responsibilities. Having a family preparedness plan in place will provide the employee with a measure of comfort and security, and as such, should be encouraged by the employer.
You can find more tips on family preparedness here:
Evaluate the accuracy of your planning and communication scenarios.
Circumstances change frequently within organizations. People are moved around or leave the organization. Companies are acquired or divested. Suppliers come and go. All of this movement likely affects how organizations respond and communicate during critical events. September could be a good reminder to revisit your plans to make sure your bases are covered. Also, check to make sure your notification scenarios are still accurate and aligned with desired actions.
You can find more tips on planning and scenarios here:
Secure contact information updates from employees and other stakeholders.
National Preparedness Month can be a great trigger for reminding people to update their contact records. By using a Self-Registration or Self-Update portal, key personnel can go online and add, delete or correct their personal information, providing greater assurances they can be alerted to company events in a more accurate and timely fashion.
You can find additional information on Self-Registration portals here:
Introduce a New Notification Capability
Finally, National Preparedness Month might just be a good time to roll out new communication capabilities. If the company is just beginning to utilize mass notification technology, providing informational resources or conducting webinars would be helpful in introducing basic concepts. If mass notification is already a foundational tool for the organization, you might consider enhancing existing capabilities with functionality such as Desktop Alerting, Cisco IP Phone notifications or alert recipient mobile apps (such as SWN Direct).
Visibility of the National Preparedness Month campaign seems to grow each year. Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage the buzz. It might be the perfect time to reinforce the importance of preparedness and resilience within your organization.