Preparing your workplace for emergencies—from natural disasters to serious safety incidents—means ensuring you have not only appropriate safety measures such as an evacuation plan and fire extinguishers but also a business continuity plan that will keep your operations from being seriously disrupted or even completely halted.
Too many business don’t have any continuity plan at all. And the ones that do have plans may find that they’re not effective when put to the test.
IFMA and RLE Technologies released a report on facility management perspectives on emergency preparedness and business continuity in North America. The report found that nearly one in five (19%) surveyed organizations didn’t have an up-to-date emergency preparedness/business continuity plan. But the 81% of organizations with an up-to-date plan were not only able to handle identified risks, but also more resilient when recovering from unplanned events.
For businesses developing or updating their business continuity plans, the report says there are 10 things the plan should do or include:
- Define roles – Determine who’s responsible for the formation and execution of the plan.
- Define mission-critical functions – Prioritize functions so you can determine which to dedicate resources to protecting and which to address first in the case of an emergency.
- Define risks – Assess vulnerabilities, especially to mission-critical functions, and determine their likelihood.
- Calculate costs – Estimate the cost of downtime as well as the cost of preparation and planning.
- Monitor – Utilize manpower and technology to catch disasters before they occur.
- Communicate – Make sure your post-emergency communications plan is resilient.
- Test – Ensure the elements of your plan are in good working order.
- Practice – When possible, conduct live drills and tabletop exercises.
- Adapt and adjust – A plan should be organic, not something you write and file. Make regular adjustments based on testing, practice and changing situations and priorities.
- Crowd source – Develop a network of strategic partners and safety professionals to whom you can go for advice when disaster strikes.
To learn how to create a business continuity plan for your company, watch this recorded webinar. And for more information, tools and resources on emergency preparedness in general, go to the OHS Insider’s emergency preparedness and response compliance centre.