Sponsored by FEMA, September is National Preparedness Month, which aims to educate people on how to prepare for natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other emergency situations, both individually and with regards to their business. It is important to prepare your business for any variety of small or large scale disaster events.
1. Program Management
- If you don’t know where to start, try taking the American Red Cross’ readiness assessment quiz.
- Develop your disaster preparedness program.
- Be aware of new laws or regulations that may be in place to meet the minimum requirements of a disaster preparedness program.
- More program management info can be found here.
- Depending on the location and risks of your business, your program could take an “all hazards” or “specific hazards” approach. To be safe, an “all hazards” approach is the way to go.
- Once hazards are identified, research ways to reduce risk.
- Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) to determine the potential consequences of a disaster as well as recovery strategies.
- More planning info can be found here.
- Write a preparedness plan that addresses at least the following aspects: emergency response, crisis communications, business continuity, employee assistance.
- Develop a system to train employees to manage incidents so they can execute these plans.
- More info on implementation can be found here.
4. Testing and Exercises
- Test the different aspects of your disaster preparedness plan.
- Clarify the roles and responsibilities of your staff in the event of a disaster.
- Learn your plans gaps or weaknesses so that they can be improved.
- More info on testing and exercises can be found here.
5. Program Improvement
- Identify a method to regularly improve your preparedness program (quarterly, semi-annually, annually, etc.)
- Stay aware of new best practices regarding preparedness and recovery plans.
- More info on program improvement can be found here.
Disasters can strike where and when you least expect it. It is worth it for your business to invest the time and money necessary to prepare for them in advance. For more information on how to protect your business from an unexpected event, visit the websites of the Department of Homeland Security,Small Business Association, and FEMA.