Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards, human-caused hazards or technology related hazards.
- Natural hazards could be a flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake or a widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic.
- Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism.
- Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.
DHS/FEMA sponsors a resource called “Ready Business” to assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards. The direction recommended is to adopt a standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs called an “all hazards approach.”
To develop an “all hazards approach,” DHS has adopted National Fire Protection Association 1600 (NFPA 1600) as the American National Standard for developing a preparedness program.
There are five steps toward creating a business preparedness program:
- Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
- Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
- Gather information about hazards and assess risks
- Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
- Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
Write a preparedness plan addressing:
- Resource management
- Emergency response
- Crisis communications
- Business continuity
- Information technology
- Employee assistance
- Incident management
- Test and evaluate your plan
- Define different types of exercises
- Learn how to conduct exercises
- Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
- Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
- Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
- Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements