Blog – Disaster Recovery

Creating a Disaster Preparedness Plan – Imperative First Steps

With spring nearly here, hurricane season will soon follow. Up to 40 percent of businesses affected by a natural disaster never reopen, so don’t wait for the unthinkable to happen. Create a disaster preparedness plan today to ensure your business' success in the future. Involve individuals that hold key roles within your organization and create a preparedness policy that aligns with the organization’s vision and goals. Ensure that the policy is proactively addressing recovery, but that also means testing and updating when necessary.

hurricane waves crashing into boardwalk

Start Building a Disaster Preparedness Plan

A successful preparedness plan is one that has upper management and executive level buy-in. Essential elements to get a plan off to a successful start include:

  • Preparedness plan performance objectives: Just like other projects, a preparedness plan should have defined short- and long-term objectives. Short-term goals can include items like assessing the current preparedness program, protecting the safety of employees and protecting the business’ brand. Examples of long-term goals include building a culture of preparedness, conducting full-scale drills and upgrading safety features in the building.
  • Outlining the scope of the program: A preparedness plan begins with program management, followed by planning, implementation, evaluations and drills, and improvements. Program management includes the formation of a preparedness team made up of managers and key individuals within the organization’s departments. Planning and gathering information about risk, as well as completing respective business impact analysis are both key to the plan’s success. Implementation is the creation of the preparedness plan that includes details about items such as business continuity, employee assistance, training, emergency response and resource management. After conducting evaluations and drills, the preparedness team identifies areas that need changes or improvements.
  • Budget approval: A budget should allow for tasks such as research, consulting, printing and training. Consider basing the investment amount for a preparedness program on levels of risk, as well as uninsurable risks and their likelihood.
  • Program development and review: A preparedness plan isn't finished once managers approve the initial plan. The preparedness team should occasionally review the plan to make sure it still meets the organization’s needs and has the latest information.

The next article in the series will focus on implementation of the newly created disaster preparedness plan. The article will address common questions regarding resource management, business continuity, training, and much more. Creating a disaster preparedness plan for a company is no small task. Contact Polygon for guidance about getting started or creating a plan based on your organization’s specific needs.

Photo by Brian Birke via CC license

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