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Disasters cause unexpected disruptions to business operations. Some disruptions create such a negative impact that can even lead a business to bankruptcy. To be fully prepared for any disaster, use Lumiform's Disaster Preparedness Checklist.
A disaster preparedness checklist or disaster recovery plan checklist is a document used to ensure that businesses are ready for and will successfully recover from any disaster that may disrupt their operations.
Business disruptions may come from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes, lightning, and tornados. At times, this may also include human-caused disruptions such as riots, active shootings, and wars. There are many other possible causes of disruption, and this varies depending on the location and other conditions.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the statistics show that after a disaster strikes, a whopping 25% of businesses won’t open again. That is why many government agencies and business institutions recommend that businesses use a disaster preparedness plan checklist. Not only does closing a business affect the owners and employees, but also the economy.
There are a lot of companies that have benefitted from using a disaster recovery plan checklist. One of these is Aeneas Internet and Telephone.
According to several news stations that were covering the event, on May 4, 2003, Aeneas was among the more than 400 businesses in Tennessee hit by an F4 tornado, packing winds greater than 200 miles per hour. The tornado resulted in eleven deaths and more than $50 million in damages throughout the community.
Aeneas Internet and Telephone lost more than $1 million in hardware and software, and its home office was reduced to rubble. There was literally nothing left. Aeneas was prepared for a worst-case scenario of a disaster, though, so they were fully back up after 72 hours. In fact, according to testimonies, some clients never lost any of their communication services.
So, using a disaster preparedness kit checklist is really beneficial for sustaining businesses.
The first essential step in a disaster preparedness checklist is assessing the risk. This means conducting a thorough assessment of the possible disasters that can affect a business and what methods are available to prepare for them. Below are three points for consideration in the disaster preparedness checklist for businesses.
Vulnerability assessment involves studying the disasters that are likely to have an impact on a business. To do this effectively, it's better to know the emergencies and natural disasters that have happened in the past and how it has impacted other businesses in the area. Then, consider how these disasters can affect the business facilities and operations.
In some countries like the United States, local government agencies have a document called a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) that contains detailed information about the disasters that pose risks to local businesses, and what the recommended preparations are.
Also, businesses should communicate with their insurance companies to inquire about what coverage is available for these local disasters. Insurance companies can provide recommendations about what precautions to take for the local disasters.
During and after emergencies, the very first responders are the workers present. So, it’s important to consider if the workers are trained to properly respond when a disaster strikes. If not, then it's best to schedule them immediately for training for first-aid and using emergency response kits. Surrounding training, there are some local government agencies that provide courses and certification.
In the emergency preparedness checklist, safety equipment such as first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, and defibrillators must be checked to confirm they are available and accessible to staff because, of course, the workers’ training won’t be applicable if they don’t have the necessary equipment to apply it.
During emergencies, local government agencies and private institutions can assist in mitigating a disaster's impact on a business and its workers. Below are some of them:
In order to have a clear understanding of what assistance they can provide, it is best to contact these groups and have a meeting with them.
After the assessment, the next step is to create a comprehensive plan to mitigate the business impact that disasters can cause and recover business operations in the shortest possible amount of time. Below are key elements that must be included in the plan.
Before a disaster, the disaster preparedness kit checklist recommends that businesses train their workers for emergency preparedness. Also, missing safety equipment that is necessary for disasters should be completely available and accessible in the facilities. This way, trained workers can easily use the equipment and tools during emergencies.
Before a disaster, the checklist recommends that an Emergency Response Team should be created. This team will be the first responders during an emergency and that is why key roles and responsibilities must be specified. Also, the structure of command must be clear so that everyone is aware of whose command to follow during emergencies.
During emergencies, the checklist recommends that there must be a plan that contains clear instructions on how to conduct emergency procedures such as evacuations, sheltering, and medical emergencies. This way, there won’t be any confusion during emergencies which can be detrimental.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is an outline of steps that will ensure continuous business operation despite an unplanned disruption. The difference between the previously mentioned key elements is that the BCP focuses on protecting and recovering business functions.
The first step in creating a business continuity plan is conducting a business impact analysis (BIA). Business impact analysis involves identifying the effects of a disaster on business functions and processes. This should be done by people who really know the business operations.
Once all the affected business functions and processes are completely listed, they should be organized according to their importance. Then, all the identified critical functions are assessed as to which of them is more time-sensitive, because these time-sensitive functions and processes will be given priority for recovery.
Next is creating recovery strategies to recover the lost functions and processes. This involves identifying the required resources like manpower, utilities, and the cost to restore each function and process. Afterward, all these analyses and strategies should be properly recorded in a single document which will then be used to develop a plan framework.
Once the plan is completed, the final step is to train the workers about the plan and then conduct testing to ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities when the business continuity plan is activated. Once the testing exercise is done, the whole process should be documented and studied to create improvements.
Nobody expects a disaster, but without proper thought and preparation, if one happens to occur, bouncing back and regaining success for your business can be nearly impossible. That’s where Lumiform comes in - with our reliable and essential resources, keeping safe and remaining vigilant will become second nature. Protect your business, digitally and at no cost, with Lumiform.