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Developing a Basic Business Recovery/Continuity Plan

Apr 01, 2015 01:29PM ● By Jennifer Neys

By Jim Bonato, Pleasant Hill CERT Program Manager

Following a disaster, confusion can reign unless we have previously taken steps to prepare.  Remember, a business’s employees are its most important asset, and “life safety” has to be your top priority as a business owner or manager.  Let’s begin there.

Employee Training. Our local American Red Cross is an excellent resource for providing effective first aid training to your employees. Nothing beats the confidence of knowing instinctively how to address an injury. These classes can provide that confidence. Observe which employee seems to be the most confident during training and identify that person as the “first aid lead” for your employees. Train your employees on fire safety and how to operate the fire extinguishers. Talk about evacuation routes, a safe outside meeting location, and accounting for all employees.

First Aid & Disaster Supply Kits.  A supply of sterile dressings, triangular bandages, vinyl gloves, antiseptic wipes, and splinting material should form the core of your first aid supplies since cuts and fractures will likely be the most common injuries.  Water and non-perishable food items should be kept in a cool location – a minimum 3-day supply is recommended.  Flashlights with extra batteries are a must.  A tool box in a central location containing basic hand tools will prove helpful.  Don’t forget about stocking extra toilet paper!

Done right, employees can also take this knowledge home with them to prepare their families.  Employees who are prepared at home are more likely to return to work promptly and assist in your business’s recovery.

Basic Business Recovery Plan.  It is difficult to be all-inclusive for every business in an article such as this, but consider the following items and take a moment to think about each and how it may facilitate the continued operations of your business or its recovery.

            Employee notification lists: Keep lists of both employees and their “in case of emergency, notify” family contacts. Include work numbers and cell numbers.

            Key business contact lists: Key customers, vendors, suppliers, and emergency numbers such as PG&E, fire department, police department, local glass companies (to re-establish building security following glass breakage), insurance company, building owner, etc.

            Equipment: Consider: What items are important in maintaining business continuity? Maintain a supply of spare parts to keep them operational.

            Important business documents: Scan these onto a couple of thumb drives. Keep one in your desk and one at home for safekeeping.

            Alternate business locations: Pre-identify an alternate location to set-up and continue your business operations if your facility is red-tagged. 

            Plan Education: Educate all employees on the plan, recovery strategy, and taking care of each other, so they are ready. 

Periodically, pull out your plan and see if it still applies, making necessary adjustments when necessary, and educating employees on your adjustments. When you have a plan, employees trained in emergency response, and a first aid and disaster supply kit on hand, it helps reduce the stress and anxiety following a major quake.











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