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Preparing Your Company for an Emergency

Disaster preparedness goes beyond data backup or tornado planning. Does your entity have a crisis management manual?

A crisis manual can help emergency preparedness. Most managers know that disaster preparedness includes such things as having an off-premises data backup program and a data recovery plan, as well as a plan for what to do in the event of a tornado warning. However, it is good practice to create a crisis management manual for use by your organization in broader-based training and preparedness.

A typical crisis management manual contains plans and instructions for how to respond to four main types of contingencies. The first type to address is natural disasters, such as fires, earthquakes, and tornadoes, each of which requires a plan for evacuation, shelter, or safety.

The second category is emergency medical response for illness, injury, or death. Are you prepared for your office to work remotely if needed? The third category is workplace violence or criminal conduct, including an armed intruder or bomb threat.

Finally, you need a plan for utility emergencies, such as an interruption in electrical power, a natural gas leak, or a water main break. Always include information on building exits (a floor plan graphic is a good idea) as well as emergency phone numbers for local law enforcement and medical authorities. Also, check with your alarm system provider regarding provisions for instantly summoning help through the alarm system.

Make sure you provide training to your department heads or supervisors, and at least once a year review the procedures with your employees. As with most other types of business contingencies, preparedness is the key. —Beth (Reynolds) Marsh, CEO

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