High impact, low probability events, as we’ve discussed throughout this blog, affect entire communities and hurts community members physically and emotionally and compromises their infrastructure. This leads to an uncertain future for the community as a whole. The ability for businesses to recover quickly and efficiently is essential to ensuring the success of the community’s reconstruction. Today, business continuity planning is putting a new twist on recovery as corporate and small businesses are planning for disasters better than ever before, and yours can too!
Who knew having the ability to go to work or go to the businesses you’re most familiar with can boost morale after a disaster? Some may think of annual, predictable events, leading to welcomed snow days or small hurricane-related days off, aka “hurrications,” as weather-related vacations. Residents may look to their favorite businesses in town to keep their doors open for a drink or a trip to the store. When these close due to more severe events, residents are left without their go-to and losing routine is detrimental to morale.
Luckily, several businesses are demonstrating the importance of getting up and running as soon as possible in order to take care of themselves and their valuable customers and community. In fact, FEMA uses businesses that have demonstrated highly-developed emergency plans as points-of-reference to estimate how long a devastated area may take to recover. For example, after the most recent disastrous tornadoes in Oklahoma, Craig Fugate, Director of FEMA, checked out the local Waffle House for what he calls the “Waffle House Index,” described on The Guardian and FEMA’s blog: http://www.fema.gov/blog/2011-07-07/news-day-what-do-waffle-houses-have-do-risk-management.
In New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, a gutsy few businesses even kept their doors open in the lesser-flooded French Quarter in order to give its residents a place to go. While it is never advised if one is putting themselves in danger, these businesses otherwise tell an inspiring tale of perseverance and the true meaning of continuity. If a business is able to quickly pick up the pieces of its operations, it decreases the economic duress caused by the event, which gives community members a comforting sense of normalcy and routine. Depending on the nature of the business, economies have fared just as well, if not better, due to support from the community in ensuring their survival.
Business Continuity Plans are reliant upon the entire system of function at all levels from the ground up. They must be flexible and on alert at all times. A BCP typically includes five sections:
- BCP Governance
- Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
- Plans, measures, and arrangements for business continuity
- Readiness procedures
- Quality assurance techniques (exercises, maintenance and auditing)
If you want to learn more about a Business Continuity Plan, speak to your local Emergency Operations Center, or visit the website: http://www.ready.gov/business for more information.
If you’d like help creating, implementing, and managing your plan with an invaluable technology-based approach and customer service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information today.
–Kali Rapp, REM4ed Emergency Preparedness and Technology Blog Contributor