September is National Preparedness Month, an initiative sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
On September 5th, Send Word Now announced its latest blog mini-series, designed to focus on FEMA’s “Ready” public education outreach campaign as it relates to business resilience. Our last blog post focused on Step 1, Program Management, in developing a comprehensive preparedness program. As you may recall, we emphasized the importance of leadership buy-in, commitment and financial support in order to meet performance objectives.
In this post, we’ll focus on Step 2, Planning.
While it’s hard to imagine every situation that can adversely affect your business, it’s crucial to take an “all hazards” approach in your thinking and planning. Strategies for prevention/deterrence and risk mitigation, as stated on FEMA’s website, www.ready.gov, should be developed as part of the planning process. And, threats or hazards that are classified as probable, and those hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact, should be addressed.
These typically include natural disasters, technological and accidental hazards, terrorist hazards, pandemics and fires.
To adequately plan for these and other critical events, your organization should complete both a risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA). It should also consider hazard prevention and deterrence measures, and develop risk mitigation strategies accordingly.
Risk Assessment – The time to identify potential emergency scenarios (always think worst-case and look for vulnerabilities, or weaknesses, that make your business more susceptible to damage from a hazard).
Business Impact Analysis – Helps you intelligently predict the consequences of disruptions so you can develop appropriate response and recovery strategies (consider impacts to lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses and regulatory fines).
Hazard Prevention and Deterrence – Evaluation of the workplace can lead to improvements for employee safety, cyber security, machinery performance and other key areas (many hazards are completely avoidable if given consideration).
Risk Mitigation – An opportunity to reduce the potential impact a disruption has on life, property, business operations and the environment (now’s the time to develop or improve your organization’s business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan).
Aside from these four planning measures, there are hundreds of simple, yet sometimes overlooked, things that you can do to better prepare your organization:
– Have a building evacuation plan and practice it on a regular basis; determine a “safe” location for employees and always call roll
– Examine your HVAC system to make sure it’s secure; upgrade if necessary to better filter potential contaminants, and know how to turn it off if necessary
– Make certain stairwells are clear from clutter (it’s the law)
– Consider what to do if employees can’t come to work or leave to go home
– Keep a first aid kit and emergency supplies, e.g., bottled water, flashlights and blankets, on hand
– Communicate quickly and often throughout a business disruption’s lifecycle
On that note, consider the use of an alerting service, like that provided by Send Word Now, to notify and account for employees, and mobilize response teams in emergencies.
National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to learn more about this important technology. Download “Emergency Notification 101: Understanding Notification Technology and Its Expanding Role in Business Resilience,” and check out Send Word Now’s latest infographic, “Are You Ready?”
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now,” or so says Alan Lakein, well-known author on personal time management. Use this time to learn all you need to support your organization’s business resilience through better communication.