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Thread: Company emergency preparedness plans

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Company emergency preparedness plans

    Hurricane Katrina proved to us that my employers (and coworkers, myself included) were not prepared for the post-disaster. For several days (and weeks) after landfall, we were scattered everywhere. We could barely get in touch with each other because of the unreliable cell phone service and email was out of the question. During those days, several questions arose: do I still have a job, will I get paid, what the heck is going on, etc., etc. Now that the hurricane season is officially over, I've been asked to develop an emergency plan for the firm.

    I already have templates from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security on emergency preparedness plans, but I'm curious to know how other agencies/companies handle this. Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Become a web-based business! E-mail, VOIP, web meetings, and similar technologies mean that many businesses (like an engineering firm) really do not need to be place-based. It is also important to regularly back up information (scan documents, etc.) and store them in a safe place. This is ideally outside of the region, so that if a comet hits Georgia or California falls into the sea, the data in Minneapolis is still safe and available.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    I would believe that New Orleans pre Katrina most places do not have a plan.
    I believe you all will be the examples that everyone looks to.
    I agree that sending back ups out of the region would be a good idea. Although after a few year as the memories fade people will forget why they are doing that and will become less likely to follow up. Shoot you can hardly get people to even do backups now..
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    We have a good EO plan. Our data gets backed up twice a week, and stored at three different locations (one out of state). We have quarterly meetings and everyone knows what there roles are. Unless a disaster strikes while at work, we expect there to be a number of days before everyone can be counted on. The main goal of our plan is to make sure our own families are safe and secure before reporting to work. We do have two way radios that have a 20 mile radius that so far have worked through large power outages, so we will be able to communicate, check, in, etc. (another benefit ofthe olympics)

    With the pay check thing, we are all on direct deposit, so we should be prepared to go without a paycheck for up to a week. We have a plan in place to issue paper checks to employees in such a case (provided the banks are open and functioning).

    Our main threat is earthquakes. We have several major fault lines that run through our community. The Salt Lake Valley has roughly 100,000 structures (mostly homes built between 1900-1950) that are not seismically safe (double block or unreinforced masonry structures), so it could be a pretty bad situation (think Mexico City). The difficult part for us is that we have so many old bridges that would fail that some parts of the valley could be completely cut off from emergency services.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    As a former certified Professional Emergency Manager for the state of Michigan, and after seeing what other people wrote, here's my thoughts.

    Your plan should have a secondary complex that the company can order an evacuation to. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it does have to have access to the backupped data. Once that is established, you should have worked out a series of proposed routes to get there. More than one is necessary because your primary route may be lost.

    Communication tools are important. As you noted, during emergencies, cell phones are unreliable. Consider breaking your company into multiple cells and having a cell leader who is equiped with a radio. Then, try to get the members of each cell to stay together. Training on radios is a must.

    For post disaster, you will want to have staff trained in damage assessment, as the company will want to make claims to FEMA. There are some downloadable manuals on this that are pretty good intros.

    Good luck on this worthwhile project.
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