San Diego –With drought and dryness conditions expected to fuel above average wildfires through the fall, MIR3, Inc., the innovator of real-time Intelligent Notification™ and response technology, is urging employers to review their current business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans to keep employees safe and operations running should a wildfire threaten employees or business operations.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center July 1st report, extreme temperatures through much of June, coupled with high drought conditions, will yield an above average fire season in parts of the country. Employers—particularly in the Southwest, Rocky Mountain and Southern Regions—must prepare for risks associated with these fires that can negatively impact business operations, including mass power outages, property damage and potential harm to employees.
The 2009 season spawned 78,792 wildfires, affecting nearly six million acres of wildlands, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Even though wildfire season has just begun, multiple fires have already claimed much of Arizona and parts of New Mexico, damaging more than 1.7 million combined acres. While it’s too early to predict 2011 numbers, wildfires can be expected to displace numerous businesses, compromising employee safety and business productivity.
New advancements, like sophisticated mass notification systems, provide organizations a means to communicate with employees, partners, and customers during operational interruptions due to natural disasters.
“Notification technology is an important part of fire risk management for employers in areas that are susceptible to wildfires,” said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Javier Mainar. “Having the right plan and tools in place to deliver important messages to employees and customers is crucial for organizations, as they can help to minimize chaos, disruption and damage in the event that a wildfire impacts operations.”
In an effort to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the workplace, MIR3 executives are offering enterprises the following tips on examining BC/DR plans:
- Understand BC/DR needs—In the wake of a wildfire emergency, it’s imperative to maintain clear and effective channels of communication in order to quickly assess damages and coordinate recovery efforts. Because essential business operations can be affected by any stage of interruption, companies should be prepared with an important message delivery system, such as automated notification, to communicate with employees and first responders
- Choose notification systems that offer a range of choices—When selecting a notification system, research its capabilities and consider systems that allow two-way communication over a variety of channels, including land line, fax, mobile, Short Message Service (SMS), Blackberry PIN-to-PIN, email, and more. These advanced features become very useful in the delivery of important and urgent information when communication infrastructure is compromised, a common issue when metropolitan areas are affected by quickly spreading wildfires
- Ensure contact data are up-to-date—Companies should regularly check their recipient lists to ensure that all contact information is up-to-date so when a disaster occurs, employers are confident that notifications are being delivered to the right person on the correct device
- Create escalation plans—Crisis situations demand that the proper people are contacted about a situation that needs immediate attention. Intelligent Notification systems include integrated mechanisms that support a call escalation process. If the first person contacted is not the correct individual for the situation, the notification system automatically contacts the next appropriate person according to pre-determined processes
- Train personnel and test systems—When creating BC/DR plans, it is essential to properly train personnel on how to use notification systems so they are able to monitor the entire alert process. Studies show that companies who educate their employees correctly achieve significantly greater response rates. Also, be sure to test alert systems during normal business hours and address any glitches to be certain notification deliveries are successful when needed. As a guideline, at least two system tests per year is a recommended
- Incentivize all employees to sign-up for notifications—When a notification system is installed, it is critical that all user contact information is saved within the system’s database so that staff can be alerted immediately during an urgent situation. Various incentive methods may be used—such as drawings, prizes, and awards—to persuade all required personnel to register. This ensures the reliable and speedy delivery of important messages at the right time, to the right person, on the right device
- Establish reactive steps to follow after the disaster—When proactive measures fail, business continuity management programs must specify reactive procedures. This will help organizations to return to normal operations as quickly as possible and will help them better prepare for future crises such as wildfires
MIR3 has notification and business continuity experts available to speak and expand on the importance of implementing the steps above in advance of this year’s wildfire season. Please contact Erin Coller at 619-234-0345 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview.
MIR3, Inc. is the leading developer of Intelligent Notification™ and response software, which helps organizations enhance communication abilities, protect assets, and increase operational efficiency. MIR3 technology enables advanced rapid, two-way mass communication for IT, business continuity, and enterprise operations for many of the Global FORTUNE 100 companies, as well as government entities, universities, and companies of all sizes in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit onsolve.com. Follow MIR3 on Twitter: @MIR3.