Bracing for Disaster

According to a article on campus safety by Dian Schaffhauser, there are three key components of a successful safety program, which can apply to all business and government facilities. Eliminate guesswork and provide an organized, considered approach to emergency response.

#1: Make a Plan

Creating a comprehensive plan that includes the who, what, when, where, and how of emergency response is the first step. A well-rounded plan takes into account four aspects of every emergency, according to Schaffhauser:

  • Risk assessment: How likely it is that an emergency will occur?
  • Prevention and mitigation: What steps need to be taken before an identified emergency happens and to prevent it from having an impact on people, assets and operations?
  • Emergency response: What do you need to do when an emergency occurs?
  • Recovery: Once immediate emergency needs are met, how will your operations resume?

#2: Test, Test, Test

Once a plan is developed, it needs testing and revision, including conducting exercises to help participants know the roles they will play during an actual emergency.

“Adults learn more by doing than reading,” said Sharlene Mielke, coordinator for disaster recovery and business continuity at Northwestern University (IL), as quoted in the report. “An exercise breeds plan familiarity. The goal of testing and exercising is not to find out if it works, but to determine how it doesn’t.”

#3: Procurement

Securing reliable communication channels are at the heart of any emergency-response system, as planning and testing efforts revolve around responder coordination and maintaining up-to-date information. Do you have the infrastructure in place to meet these demands? And, if not, where can you procure them from?

Whether through an Internet, cellular or other communication method, having this final stage in place during a disaster is critical and could mean the difference between a business’s life and death.

For more information about how to create a reliable safety program and continuity plan, visit: