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Direction and Control

Top management support is critical.  Trying to do an Emergency Plan without top management’s clear commitment does not work effectively.  Gaining management support and commitment can be accomplished by requesting management’s support and commitment, documenting findings, such as from a risk assessment or business impact analysis, and presenting the findings to management.

The first step in preparing to plan for any emergency is to carefully select members of a Planning Team (referred to as a Disaster Response Team, Business Recovery Team, or Emergency Operations Team) from your group of employees.  A Planning Team Coordinator should be named who will be responsible for coordinating all emergency efforts.  Appoint a second in command.  If the person normally in charge is injured in the emergency or not available, the second in command should be named in the plan, and delegated full authority in this situation.  If you can’t name someone, you have already pinpointed one of your greatest vulnerabilities. The Planning Team should have regular meetings.  These meetings should compile the information necessary to recover from an emergency or disaster.

You may also want to consider assigning Recovery Team Leaders for each department within your business.  These leaders consist of people who are responsible for performing tasks required to recover vital business functions and processes.  These leaders should be comprised of knowledgeable people from the business functions that will be recovered.  These functions may include:  Information Systems, Customer Service, Accounts Payable and Receivable and Personnel. Of course, your business can create Recovery Team Leaders where you may have specific needs.  The duties of the Recovery Team Leaders should include assisting the Planning Coordinator in the development and implementation of your businesses Emergency Plan and creating an Evacuation Plan and Plan of Action for their respective departments.  The number of Recovery Team Leaders will depend on the size of your business.  If your business is relatively small, the Planning Coordinator can develop your recovery plan for all departments.

A chain of command must be established to minimize confusion, so that employees will have no doubt about who has authority for making decisions.  Responsible individuals should be selected as team members.  Because of the importance of their functions, adequate backup must be arranged so that trained personnel are always available.  The duties of the Planning Team Coordinator should include the following:

•  coordinate and manage all of the events required to develop an Emergency Plan.

•  serve as a liaison between management,  recovery teams and internal and external resources.

•  establish a budget and timeline.

•  evaluate emergency vulnerabilities on a continuing basis, revise plans and resources appropriately.

•  assess the situation and determine whether or not an emergency exists that requires activating emergency procedures.

•  direct all efforts in the area, including any necessary evacuation of personnel.

•  ensure outside emergency services such as medical aid and local fire departments are called in when necessary.

•  direct the shutdown of business operations when necessary.

You may consider adding these duties to employee job descriptions.

Category:Disaster Planning

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