Companies must prepare for disasters more today than ever before, yet 62% of companies don't have disaster and recovery plans in place per the Ad Council. Shelly Trent, in a recent Fridays@4 session, shared there are five types of disasters organizations should plan for - geological, weather, biological, human caused accidental or intentional crisis and technological. Failing to prepare for these disasters could put your organization at risk of failure. The guidelines below are meant to give you access to resources and steps to create the plan now before disaster impacts you and your organization.
Why does your organization need a plan?
- You need to be able to protect the safety of employees, members/clients and others from potential hazards in the event of an emergency. Be mindful of those who may need assistance due to disability or functional needs.
- You need to minimize disruption to your organization. Backup plan for operations in the event your building is inaccessible during the emergency.
- You need to plan to protect facilities, physical assets and electronic info.
- Protect the organizations, brand, image and reputation.
How do you create a plan?
- Review online resources and templates to get you started. Ready.gov is a great site to start.
- Create a planning committee including staff and members from every department to help determine what disasters or crisis might occur. You want to plan for every possibility, no matter how rare. Once the committee has developed recommendations, get buy in from senior leaders and the board to enact.
- Provide every employee with a clearly outlined plan and train them. Include a process for when to do what, where to go and who to contact.
What are the goals of the plan?
- Minimize potential economic loss
- Decrease potential exposure
- Reduce probability of occurrence
- Ensure organizational stability
- Provide orderly recovery
- Minimize insurance premiums (having disaster plans can save you money on insurance)
- Reducing reliance on key individuals
- Protecting assets of the organization
- Ensuring the safety of staff and members/clients
- Minimize decision making during a disaster
- Minimize legal liability
Once you develop your plan, you will need to regularly test and update your plan. There are five components you should test - activation and notification, information management and communication, resource deployment, command and control of supporting teams and incident documentation for legal and insurance claims.
Shelly shared there several resources for your organization to get started.
IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situation
State Offices and Agencies of Emergency Management
Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Weather Service
Disaster Recovery Plan Template
National Fire Protection Organization