Posted by: Bill von Achen | September 16, 2011

Planning for the Next Business Emergency

Following Hurricane Irene three weeks ago, I was personally reminded of the need for business continuity planning.  We were without electricity for nearly five days, and I became good friends with the local librarian, who had the only reliable source of power necessary to keep my laptop computer and cellphone operational.

Of course, the challenges I dealt with were miniscule compared with those facing companies with employees and tangible assets such as equipment, machinery and inventory.  So I began asking some of you about your contingency plans for dealing with all manner of natural disasters and man-made tragedies, and the processes you have in place to ensure that your employees remain safe and your business operational.  It’s probably not surprising that the extent of planning is all over the map.

So, to prepare for your next business emergency, check out www.ready.gov/business, the website of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There, you’ll find a ton of information, publications and templates that you can use to develop and implement an emergency plan for your company. At the very least, take a look at the FEMA publication, “Every Business Should Have a Plan” (http://www.ready.gov/business/_downloads/ReadyBusBooklet_12pg.pdf).

For those who are more ambitious, FEMA has also produced an “Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry,” which provides a step-by-step approach to business emergency planning and recovery. Finally, the September issue of Inc. Magazine has a list of 12 products to help keep your business running should catastrophe strike.

You can access copies of the last two items by going to our Resources page, and by clicking on the links under the heading “Business Continuity.”

How prepared is your company to survive a natural or man-made emergency?  What plans do you have in place to maintain critical operations?  If you have plans, do your employees know about them, and what they’re supposed to do?  Post your comments here.  Thanks!


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