Any disaster your agency faces is marked by one dangerous element: unpredictability. Dealing with disaster is that much harder because no one knows where or when a crisis will strike. Agencies with a contingency plan in place, however, will be better prepared to face the storm than those who don’t.
An agency contingency plan is a disaster prep and management document – think of it as a roadmap to weathering the storm. In this plan, you should include general emergency procedures and procedures specific to the different crises your agency could encounter. The contingency plan’s main purpose is to keep your employees, infrastructure and information, and agency operations safe.
Keep your employees safe by including:
- A point person or team of people to manage the plan’s execution.
- An evacuation plan for employees, including how and when employees should evacuate.
- Procedures specific to disasters within the building (i.e. active shooter) vs outside the building (i.e. flood).
Keep your infrastructure and information safe by:
- Detailing how to retrieve your agency’s data from back-up devices during an emergency.
- Putting a team in charge of checking data, looking for missing or damaged information, and heading up recovery efforts.
- Setting up alternative communication means, such as virtual meetings and teleconferencing, so employees know how to get updates and remain connected.
Keep your agency operations safe with:
- A definitive chain of command, including appointing all decision makers a “back-up” in case they are unable to perform their duties.
- Set assignments for each employee and/or department so everyone is sure of their specific task and can get started immediately when crisis hits.
- Detailed procedures for informing customers and keeping them updated as business returns to normal.
Many businesses tend to put contingency planning on the back burner, but this is a mistake your agency cannot afford. When putting together your plan, be sure to have individuals from each department review the document. Once you have a solid plan, go over it with your employees, hitting the high points so there is no surprise when the plan needs to be put into action. Ensure your staff has access to the plan in both electronic and hard copy form so it can be referenced with or without electricity.
Most importantly, reassess your plan frequently, at least annually. It is important to ensure items such as employee contact information and agency procedures stay up-to-date.
We at SIS know the importance of staying current for the sake of emergency preparedness, which is why we frequently update our Partner XE agency management system with the latest technology, including redundant back-ups of data. Find out more about the latest Partner XE enhancements and features, check out our website or contact us at [email protected].