A disaster is any event that will significantly impact your company’s operations — and I mean Anything. Traditionally, this means a hurricane, fire, flood, or earthquake. Non-traditionally, this means a toxic waste release, computer system crash, power outage, labor strike, community illness and many others. Unfortunately, disasters happen more frequently than we would prefer. So how can you use disaster management planning to make sure you’re prepared?
No one is exempt from a disaster, and most organizations are unprepared if a disaster erupts, unless your company has prepared a Disaster Plan that accounts for any disaster that will exceed your ability to respond effectively: a worst-case scenario.
Disasters result from three (3) types of incidents, caused by:
1. Natural or cataclysmic events (i.e., hurricane, earthquake, fire, flood, storm);
2. Human behavior (i.e., robbery, bomb threat, arson, hostage event, transportation strike); and
3. Technological breakdowns (i.e., power outage, computer crash, computer virus).
The key to disaster management is to have a disaster plan in place before disaster strikes. Your disaster plan should include set of simple, effective disaster recovery guidelines and disaster procedures for all people to follow. Just as a ship without a rudder is at the mercy of the tides, a company without a disaster plan is at the mercy of potentially tragic events.
After a review of disaster responses following various disasters, U.S. regulators are now urging firms to improve business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Human beings tend to make inappropriate decisions during a crisis. So, if your company has a plan already prepared for coping with most emergencies and you have shared the plan with your employees, then you stand a better chance of surviving an emergency and recovering rapidly.
When planning for an emergency, you should be prepared for an event that will cause one or more of the following results to occur in your community:
Traditional roles and routine activities within the community are temporarily suspended. This causes the reassignment of personnel to fulfill necessary roles and functions, with temporary powers, duties and responsibilities.
A 72-hour interruption of:
Vendors of products and services will be unable to fulfill their roles, either because the geographical area affected by the disaster is closed to outside traffic; phone lines are down and information cannot be shared; or the vendors will be too busy answering calls for service from other clients also affected by the disaster.
Have you planned for a disaster as if you will not have any outside help for at least three to five days? Your disaster plan should allow you to be self-sufficient during that minimum amount of time, and preferably longer.
The three primary goals of disaster management planning and business recovery are to:
You must eliminate or reduce the potential for injuries or the loss of human life, damage to facilities, and loss of assets and records. This requires a comprehensive assessment of each department within your company to insure that appropriate steps have been taken to:
Immediately invoke the emergency provisions of your Disaster Management Plan to stabilize the effects of the disaster, allowing for appropriate assessment and the beginning of recovery efforts. Then contain the disaster to minimize the impact and provide for the fastest business recovery.
Implement the disaster procedures contained in your Disaster Management Plan according to the type and impact of the disaster. Your disaster procedures should prioritize all recovery efforts as follows:
Assault is the most feared personal crime. You can be assaulted physically, mentally and emotionally. Statistically, one in every four Americans will become the victim of a violent act during your lifetime, either at home, at work — or any place in between. Assaults do not just happen to “other people”. Anyone — even you — can become a victim.
By understanding the cause and effect relationships between personal and work habits, a company’s policies and operating procedures and the behaviors exhibited by both victims and offenders, you can implement both a comprehensive personal and company-wide security and safety program that will significantly reduce most safety risks.
This information is essential for preventing crimes of violence and for surviving violent events if your prevention efforts fail. Victims who prevent or survive violent events generally report having had a defensive plan of action, consisting of a strategy and thoughtful tactics and response techniques.
Your disaster management planning process should include preventative actions designed to accomplish a common goal — to prevent you from becoming a victim of a violent act, or at least to reduce the likelihood of serious injury. Your Disaster Recovery Plan is a strategic planning, training and reference tool for helping you to decide what to do before, during and after a violent event. Tactics that work for one person may not work for another. The choices — and your success or failure — are all yours. You can, after all, do everything right and still lose, and everything wrong and still win.
You have more work to do if you are truly committed to developing a safe working environment for your company, including:
The process of developing and maintaining safe places to live and work is an evolutionary one. Learn to be conscious, ever-vigilant and adaptable to life’s circumstances. Coping with crimes of violence involves four components:
Inattention to one component may jeopardize the success of the other three. Victims who prevent or survive violent events have a defensive plan of action, consisting of a strategy and thoughtful tactics and response techniques. Does your disaster management planning process include workplace violence?
Your recovery from a disaster is directly related to the level of detail you include in your disaster planning process. Your disaster recovery plan effectiveness is therefore based on your attention to detail, preparation, and leadership. Save time researching laws, regulations, and standards.
The answer to disaster management planning is to have a disaster plan in place before disaster strikes. When planning for an emergency, you should be prepared for an event where you will not have any outside help for at least three to five days. As a result, your disaster plan should allow you to be self-sufficient during that minimum amount of time, and preferably longer.
Human beings tend to make inappropriate decisions during a crisis. So, if your company has a disaster plan that you have shared with your employees, then you stand a better chance of surviving an emergency and your business recovering rapidly.
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