8 steps for planning your emergency and disaster plan

8 steps for planning your emergency and disaster plan



Business Continuity Plan

Step 1: Establish an Emergency Preparedness team

It is a good idea to clearly assign the responsibility for emergency preparedness to a team. Select a few managers/individuals or an existing committee to take charge of the project.

Planning and implementation
Policies, procedures, organization
  1. Establish policies such as compensation and absences, return to work procedures, telecommuting, flexible work hours, travel restrictions
  2. Define chain of command for plan implementation
  3. Establish authorities’ trigger points and when to implement BCP
  4. Establish emergency safety policies for the workplace. For example, in the event of a pandemic, policies that will help prevent the spread of influenza, such as promoting respiratory/ hygiene/cough etiquette, and prompt exclusion of people with influenza symptoms.
  5. Establish policies for employees who are directly affected by the emergency. For example, in the event of a pandemic, policies for employees who have been exposed.
  1. Maintain good communications and manage relations with all staff levels
  2. Advise senior management
  3. Instil importance of the BCP throughout the organization
  4. Liaison with local government agencies such as Health Canada and Public Safety Canada
  5. Prepare and disseminate timely and accurate information to all employees
  6. Educate staff about possible emergencies. For example, in the event of a pandemic, give information on signs and symptoms of influenza, modes of transmission, personal and family protection, and response strategies
  7. Evaluate using various forms of technology to maintain communications
  8. Help prepare training on the subject
  9. Local site managers implement the plan
  10. Setup systems to monitor employees for an emergency.

How Did Business Continuity Plans Come to Be?

Before the details of a business continuity plan can be figured out, there must first be alignment around what it even is. Some believe it’s synonymous with a disaster recovery plan, but a disaster recovery plan is actually a component of a BCP. Business continuity plans initially were born out of a need for disaster recovery planning in the early 1970s. At the time, financial companies needed to store back-up records away from computers, and recovery efforts were generally the result of disasters like fires and floods. The emphasis was on IT protection, which continued in the 1980s with the proliferation of commercial recovery sites for computer services. Globalization began to ramp up in the following decade as access to data became easier, facilitated by more complex computing systems.

That complexity prompted organizations to think more holistically about risks that could affect the smooth delivery of their goods and services. Instead of a reactive response — planning what happens after a disaster occurs — businesses began to take a more proactive approach. What could they do in advance, and what was the landscape of threats to navigate? Soon, businesses began to expand their thinking beyond IT recovery. How would they respond if a key vendor could no longer provide its service or product? What if there was a regional infrastructure outage, an active shooter situation, or a tornado that damaged critical facilities?

With the universe of harms realized, organizations understood that a more expansive plan was necessary, and business continuity meant integrating elements of disaster recovery planning but also emergency preparedness and crisis management.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *