After an emergency, a company has a chance to reevaluate its business strategy/policies and consider including new critical equipment, begin management programs, and implement best practices where none existed before, thereby mitigating risk. These items can then be included into a new line item in the capital and operating budgets. Soon after a critical event memories are fresh; however, everyday events suppress urgency as time passes and the chance for real sustained progress is lost.
Therefore, take the following exercise to examine your emergency preparedness. Ask yourself the following questions and provide realistic answers. If you can answer the questions, you will be better prepared the next time an emergency or critical event takes place. If not, take some steps now. If your budget is tight look for improvements that are high impact/low cost. You can always find something: The result of your effort improves confidence, continuity, and resiliency.
Loss of Critical Personnel: Employee retirement, sick leave, or internal promotion
- What knowledge was lost?
- Where is the critical documentation?
- How do we find and train new personnel?
- What risks are faced during the transition? (remember that greater then 50% of downtime is attributed to human error)
Situational Awareness During Critical Events: Fires, blackouts, natural disasters, terrorism, building equipment failures
- Who should be contacted?
- Can you identify your critical systems supporting production and infrastructure?
- Where are the procedures? When was the last time they were updated?
- Will you be able to respond in time?
- How is information shared and leveraged throughout your organization?
- Is system data readily accessible?
- Are the EOPs, SOPs, and ARPs up to date?
- How are all revisions approved and made available to all users?