Recovery and Restoration
When an emergency strikes and it involves your facility and business, every consideration must be given to keeping the business running, or resuming business operations as quickly as possible. This not only keeps the business intact, but also keeps people employed. Your plan should include:
• Consider contractual arrangements with vendors for post-emergency services such as temporary staffing, equipment replacing or repair, records preservation, cleanup or engineering.
• Determine critical business functions and make plans for restoring them either on-site or at an alternate facility/headquarters.
Continuity of Management
• Assume key personnel are not readily available following a disaster.
• Procedures for ensuring each essential business function be restored must be in place.
• Consult your legal advisor and corporate by-laws to guarantee continuity.
• A chain of command should be in place.
• An alternate facility/headquarters should be in place to resume business functions and/or communications.
Is your company properly insured? Unfortunately, many companies discover that they are not properly insured until they suffered from a loss. Here are some questions you should be asking your insurance carrier:
• How will my Emergency Plan affect my rates?
• What causes of loss does my policy cover?
• What are my deductibles?
• What types of records and documentation will you want to see in the event of a loss? You will want to keep these records in a safe place.
• What does my policy require me to do in the event of a loss?
• Am I covered for loss income in the event of a loss? How long?
• Do I have enough coverage?
In the aftermath of any crisis situation, business owners find themselves in the difficult position of having to put their own thoughts and feelings on the back burner to do what they can to assist their employees. This can be a difficult and confusing time in the workplace. Many of your employees will need support during and after an emergency or disaster. What can you do to assist your employees? Your company should consider providing cash advances, salary continuation, care packages and day care. Here are a few other suggestions:
Communications: The most important step is to allow your employees to communicate their feelings. Speak with your employees as soon as possible, especially about safety and health issues.
Counseling: Consider contracting a professional grief counselor to come into your business and be available to your employees. Employee Assistance Programs exist just for this purpose and can be very helpful while protecting privacy.
Patience: Give your employees time to work through their grief and anxiety. Appreciate that employees may experience a short-term reduction in focus and productivity. Consider reduced work hours or flexible work hours for employees to resume their work. The supervisor should not attempt to “whip everyone into shape.”
Educate: Provide educational material about what has happened, what to expect and how individuals can help. Educate managers and supervisors on signs of emotional distress and how to provide support and help.
Immediately after an emergency, your company should be prepared to resume operations. Here are some things to consider:
• Activate your Recovery Team leaders and establish priorities for resuming operations.
• Secure property for safety and security purposes.
• Conduct an investigation including appropriate agencies.
• Obtain necessary supplies.
• Assess remaining hazards.
• Conduct employee briefings to inform them of the status of business operations.
• Take inventory of damaged properties and/or goods. Assess the value of the damage. Take photos of the damage.
• Record all damages. Keep these records on hand until your insurance carrier has had an opportunity to visit the facility.
• Determine what can be salvaged. Protect undamaged goods.
• Remove smoke, water and/or debris and restore power.
• Establish a method for maintaining communications with families, clients, vendors and suppliers.