Often, I will be asked what steps can an organization take to become better prepared to respond and recover from man-made and natural disasters. Hands down, my response will routinely be to ensure that you provide training so that they and their families are prepared!
Regardless of the amount of time and monies an organization has devoted to the development and implementation of emergency, disaster, crisis communication, business continuity and/or disaster recovery plans you must first and foremost train and prepare your staff. The best designed plans can not operate on their own. A 3-ring binder simply can not implement itself and must have human beings readily available to carry out the plans.
Years ago, I remember working on the business continuity plans for a former employer. At that time, I recognized the need for contingency plans for staff response and the CFO was adamant that we didn't need certain contingency plans, because her leadership team would get there. However, she failed to realize and could not be convinced that her "key disaster response team member" lived in an area with one of the highest risks for liquefaction in the City of Seattle and as a result would almost certainly not report to work if there were a significant earthquake.
Each organization will have its own risk factors and should identify means to mitigate or develop contingency plans. Even your most devoted employees will be more concerned with family matters than the recovery of the organization in the hours, days and even weeks following an event. Regardless of the commitment of a staff member to your organization, you must recognize that after a significant event their immediate concerns will be more personal. Work will be a distant secondary concern to their loved ones and belongings. Which is why it is critical for organizations to encourage, promote and train their staff on means to become better prepared for events that are likely to occur in our region.
If your organization has spent or intends to spend time on the development and implementation of disaster/emergency and related plans. Their first step and annually thereafter should be to educate and encourage their most valued commodity, their employees to be better prepared both at work and at home.
To learn more about preparedness measures or to schedule a staff presentation, safety walk, tabletop exercise, drill or general consultation with HT2, please Click Here!