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Emergency Preparedness Essentials
 

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Emergency Prepareness Program Management for Your Business

The preparedness program wouldnít be possible if it werenít for its strong foundation of commitment, management leadership, and financial support. Without these things it would be extremely difficult to build the program, not to mention maintaining and keeping it up to date.

The following are good reasons to invest in a preparedness program:
  • Human or natural-caused disasters that hit businesses usually result in up to 40% of these businesses never reopening. (Source: Insurance Information Institute.)
  • Because customers want service and product delivery to be on time, if there is a large delay they may end up going to a competitor.
  • Larger businesses want to ensure that their suppliers are prepared so their own supply chain wonít get interrupted. Competitors with a preparedness program could take business away from those without a preparedness program.
  • Insurance does not replace customers or cover all lossesóit is only a partial solution.
  • Natural or human-caused disasters could exhaust or overwhelm the resources of public agencies, even the largest public agencies. Every facility might not be able to be reached in time.
  • Perceptions can differ from what is actually taking place. Because news travels fast, businesses will need to act fast in reaching out to stakeholders and customers.
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of people surveyed by an Ad Council reported that their business didnít have an emergency plan.
  • 99.7% of all the employer firms are represented by small businesses according to the Small Business Administration.
  • Small businesses employ approximately half the private sector employees.
  • In the last 17 years, small businesses have generated 65% of the net new jobs.
  • Small businesses have made up 97.5% of identified exporters.
There are a lot of factors to consider when investing in a preparedness program. Businesses will need to figure out how much risk it will be able to tolerate beyond the minimum requirements established by regulations. A preparedness program could be the only way to manage risks that canít be insured. Other risks can be reduced if you invest in a loss prevention program, equipment, and protection system. In order to make decisions, youíll need to understand the likelihood as well as the severity of risk and the costs associated with them.

Developing a Preparedness Policy

Management needs to write and distribute a preparedness policy that is compatible with the vision and mission of the business. Roles and responsibilities should be defined in the policy. The policy should also authorize certain employees to build the program and keep it up to date. The policy should define objectives and goals of the program such as:
  • Protect the safety of visitors, contractors, employees, and any others at risk from any hazards that could be found at the facility. Special planning should be done for persons with disabilities and/or functional needs.
  • Minimize disruptions or interruptions of business operations, thereby maintaining customer service.
  • Protect electronic information, physical assets, and facilities.
  • Prevent any contamination of the environment.
  • Protect the image, brand, and reputation of the organization.
The Role of the Program Coordinator and Program Committee

A program committee of key employees should be organized in order to help with the development, implementation, and further maintenance of the program. A coordinator should be put in place in order to guide the committee and the development of the program. In addition, the coordinator should communicate the imperative points of the plan to everyone so they can all participate in the preparedness efforts. The coordinator role should be well-known throughout the business.

Administering Your Disaster Recovery Program

To ensure that the program always meets the needs of the business, the program should be reviewed on a regular basis. For easy access, keep the records on file. Donít forget to maintain a record of the regulations, laws, and other requirements that could have changed.

Program Performance Objectives

Performance objectives are simply milestones that you set to make sure you're making meaningful progress toward your end goal of achieving a successful emergency preparedness and disaster recovery program for your business. Peformance objectives should be developed for all aspects of your program including hazard prevention, emergency response, risk mitigation and business continuity.

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