Prior to an Emergency:

  • Develop and practice a contingency plan that includes a succession plan for your Owner/CEO.
  • Train backup employees to perform emergency tasks. The employees you count on to lead in an emergency will not always be available.
  • Determine off-site crisis meeting places and crisis communication plans. Practice with employees, customers, etc.
  • Identify an alternate means of communication in case the phone networks go down.
  • Make sure all employees, as well as the owner, are involved in the execises so they get practice responding to an emergency.
  • Make business continuity exercises realistic enough to tap into employees’ emotions to ensure they react properly under stressful situations.
  • Form partnerships with local firefighters, police, EMT’s. Let them become familiar with your company and site.
  • Evaluate your company’s performance during each test, and work towards constant improvements.

Business Continuity Planning:

  • Document internal key personnel and backups. These are people who fill key positions in your business.  Consider which job functions are critically necessary, every day.  Make a list of those positions and personnel, and their contact information, in case you need to contact them during an emergency.
  • Identify which staff can telecommute to conduct business, if necessary.
  • Document external contacts (i.e., vendors, contractors, attorneys, bankers, consultants), and build a special contact list that includes a description of the company and contact information. Don’t forget utility companies.
  • Maintain a detailed inventory of all equipment, including computers and locations for off-site computer information backups. Don’t forget to include software that would be considered critical, especially if it is specialized software.
  • Identify critical documents, such as Articles of Incorporation, legal papers, banking information, human resources documents, building lease papers, tax returns—this information will be necessary should it be necessary to start your business over.
  • Identify contingency equipment options. If your company uses trucks and they are damaged in a building fire, where would you rent trucks?  Where would you rent computers?
  • Identify your contingency location. This is the place you will conduct business while your primary location is unavailable.  If you do have an identified temporary location, include a map with your Plan.
  • Make a “How-to” list, including step-by-step instructions on what to do, who should do it, and how. List each responsibility and the name of the person assigned to it.  For example, who is responsible to contact the insurance company?
  • Put the information together in a reference document, such as a 3-ring binder, and make plenty of copies for each key personnel. Also, keep copies at an off-site location, at home and/or a safe-deposit box.
  • Test the Plan—Pick a day and let everyone know what’s happening. You’ll learn that you haven’t thought of everything, but that’s why you test, so you can make necessary changes.
  • Plan to change the plan. Review and Revise when something changes, and never let it get out of date.