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Your Business Role in Preparing for Emergencies

Posted 8 years ago on · Permalink

Line Millette
Emergency Management Coordinator
Region of Durham Emergency Management Office

Disaster planning is crucial. While the Region and its municipalities are prepared for emergencies, businesses have an important role in ensuring their viability.

Many hazards can impact business, natural, human caused and technological. Companies should have a preparedness program that addresses these hazards and ensures business continuity.

A preparedness program should be developed based on management leadership, commitment and financial support. In addition, companies need to identify regulated minimum program requirements and determine how much risk the business can tolerate. Preparedness may help manage many risks that cannot be insured while reducing others by investing in loss prevention programs, protection systems and equipment.

In the planning stage of a preparedness program, businesses should identify localized hazards and assess their associated risks. A business impact analysis (BIA) identifies ways to prevent hazards or, if prevention is not an option, to reduce their impact on the company that could potentially cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact.

A preparedness program expands the BIA by addressing:

Resource Management – needed for responding to emergencies, continuing business operations, and communicating during and after an incident;

Emergency Response Plans – defining responsibilities and coordination activities in an incident, including evacuation, sheltering in place and lockdown;

Crisis Communications – to establish reliable methods to notify employees, customers, media, and stakeholders;

Business Continuity plans –  detailing recovery strategies to overcome business disruption;

Information Technology plans – would include computer hardware recovery, connectivity and electronic data to support critical business processes;

Employee Assistance – reinforcing support by the company to employees following an incident as well as encouraging employees to develop personal preparedness;

Training – of persons with a defined role in the preparedness program to be aware of, and carry out, their individual assigned responsibilities, and to take appropriate protective actions during an emergency.

Testing different types of scenarios, areas of responsibility and business continuity is necessary to determine the effectiveness of the plans and of the preparedness program overall.

Program improvement identifies the gaps and deficiencies in the preparedness program.

Following an actual incident, exercise or test, a critique should be conducted to assess processes and identify needs for preparedness program changes. Reviews, evaluations and improvements should be documented and maintained on file.

For more emergency preparedness information, view Durham Region’s website at www.durham.ca/demo.

Line Millette is Emergency Management Coordinator at Durham Emergency Management Office.