Prepared to Recover from a Workplace Disaster
When planning for disaster recovery it is important to realize that the seemingly large variety of possible disasters can actually be reduced to a manageable number. All disasters have common elements and can be grouped into one or more of three main categories:
- Loss of information
- Loss of access to facilities
- Loss of people
Recovery Time PeriodsWhen planning for recovery from a disaster, it is important to accept the fact that doing "business-as-usual" will be suspended at the time of the disaster and for an unknown amount of time after the disaster.
Two basic time periods must be planned for following a disaster:
- First will be the immediate, disorganized, "limited (or no) operations" time span, which can extend for up to a week or more.
- Next will be a period of "makeshift operations," which can be quite lengthy and can last for several months until normal operations can be restored.
Establish Top Management AuthoritySomeone has to make some tough decisions early on in the disaster recovery process. One of the primary areas of weakness in the disaster recovery process is not having backup management with the authority to make some of these decisions.
Therefore, when planning for disaster recovery, it is vital to appoint a second in command (or better yet, a team) with full authority in case the person normally in charge is injured or unable to head the recovery effort.
Prioritize OperationsDaily operations will need to be prioritized. Many companies decide that all operations must be brought up at the same time because they are all important. Another way to prioritize is to consider how to minimize the time it will take to restore these vital functions:
- Accepting customer orders
- Purchasing supplies
- Receiving deliveries
- Producing products or services
- Delivering products or services
Assign the Disaster TeamIt is important for management to assign responsibilities as part of the disaster recovery plan. This way, the plan can be implemented as soon as possible after a disaster. This means:
- Appointing people to take charge of the recovery process
- Appointing a seconds-in-command as backup to the primary team members
- Assigning specific tasks and responsibilities to other personnel
- Promptly providing information for employees
- Contacting your most important customers
- Communicating with your board members and stockholders
- Notifying your suppliers where and when to deliver
Review Your Insurance CoverageAs part of your emergency planning strategy, you should meet with your insurance provider to review your coverage. Make sure you know what is covered and what is not. Your property insurance should cover all your assets—your building, equipment, vehicles, raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods.
Consider the need for business interruption coverage as well. Especially if you have only one location, you will not have a regular revenue stream coming in until you are back in production of the goods and services that are your company's life blood.
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