Business disruptions are one of the many pitfalls that affect the environment in which business is conducted. These disruptions come in many flavors and are commonly called disasters.  They could be a natural disaster like an earthquake, or be man-made like a terrorist attack, or even an accident such as a fire.

The first step is to determine what types of disasters are most likely to affect your company or organization.  For instance, if your company or organization is based in Washington state, it does not make sense to have an elaborate plan for hurricane evacuation; instead you should concentrate your efforts on earthquakes.

The key questions you will want to evaluate in determining what types of disasters you want to prepare for are:

  • What will my organization do?
  • Where will we conduct business?
  • How will we serve our customers?
  • How quickly will we recover?

Once you determine what disasters you want to prepare your company or organization for, you need to plan a disaster response.  The following are the keys to preparing and responding to a disaster.

  1. Have a DISASTER AND BUSINESS RESUMPTION PLAN in place before an event happens.
  1. Make sure your plan covers the three areas of concern: natural, man made and accidental, and what to do if a disaster happens to your organization.
  1. If you conduct business in Washington State, make sure you have an adequate earthquake plan that covers:
    •   What to do before and after a disaster.
    • How you can resume business in an efficient manner.
  1. After you have written your plan, make sure everyone in your organization is aware of it. Train your employees on the elements of the plan and each employee’s individual responsibilities.
  1. If you have multiple locations, assure each location has a master plan and a plan for their individual location.
  1. Make sure you have adequate water, food, and supplies on hand to sustain you employees’ and customers’ needs for a minimum of three days.
  1. Make a list of the necessary tools on hand in case of an emergency, and have them ready. For example, flashlight, batteries, AM/FM radio and cell phone. Train your employees on where these items are located.
  1. Assure you have an adequate number of first aid kits and that they are readily available to staff and customers.
  1. Keep all proprietary information and data in an offsite location.
  1. To adequately recover from a disaster, you should have an alternate site available so you can serve your customers and resume some semblance of business.
  1. Contact your present security and data storage provider and make sure they have an adequate disaster plan.
  1. You should have a telephone tree that can be easily implemented. A more efficient means is an automated telephone tree that allows one or more staff members to initiate the call to the remaining employees.
  1. Your plan should tell staff their level of responsibility, such as the following:
    • Who is in charge
    • Damage assessment
    • Emergency management
    • Personnel
    • Security & insurance
    • Customer service

Each employee should be instructed as to the proper response that is expected in such event. The ultimate goal of your plan is to safely resume essential business operations within 24 to 48 hours followed by resumption of all necessary operations and processing within one week.

Please contact Madigan Security if you have questions or want help in preparing your business for the unexpected.  Remember, to be prepared is half the victory.