Understanding capabilities and identification of opportunities for program improvement.
A long list of events including the terrorist acts of 9/11, workplace violence, Hurricane Katrina, Midwest floods, August 2003 power outage, and the specter of pandemic influenza call attention to the need for businesses to be prepared. Natural disasters such as the 2010 flooding in Thailand and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused global supply chain problems. Suppliers are now being asked “do you have a plan to ensure that my supply chain will not be interrupted.” Boards of directors are asking about preparedness.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, the 9/11 Commission endorsed a national standard for private sector preparedness. This recommendation was incorporated into Title IX of Public Law 110-53 and began the voluntary program "PS-Prep" to certify private sector preparedness programs.
Whether required by law or requested by your customers, preparedness is essential to protect your employees, business, reputation, and the environment.
All businesses should evaluate their program using national standards and industry best practices as criteria to ensure that the program meets business needs and is compliant with regulations.
Preparedness, LLC utilizes a 200 plus question tool and more than three decades of experience working in a diverse range of industries to evaluate emergency management and business continuity programs. Our evaluation benchmarks your program against NFPA 1600, our National Preparedness Standard, in addition to important regulations and best practices.
Our evaluation tool enables us to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your program and offer prioritized recommendations for improvement. Our evaluation begins with a survey of your facilities, interviews with persons involved in your program, and a review of program documentation. Our goal is to learn about your business, management, hazard profile, and available resources to make specific recommendations for your benefit.
Do you have an effective capability to respond to the many different emergencies that you may confront? Can you quickly detect an emergency and alert trained responders—internal teams or public emergency services. Do you have the ability to protect people whether that requires evacuation, lockdown, or sheltering in place?
Our evaluation will help you understand the minimum regulatory requirements. We also identify how to protect people, property, business operations, and the environment. We can help you understand the limitations of critical resources including your own staff, public emergency services, systems and equipment, and your ability to manage a difficult incident.
A key element of a business continuity program includes the business impact analysis, which should identify and prioritize time critical functions. Strategies, resources, and information needed to support critical functions at minimally accepted levels should also be determined along with manual “workarounds.”
The program evaluation looks at each of these important areas as well as the business continuity organization, plans, and procedures needed to activate and implement pre-determined strategies.
Every organization must have a plan to reach out to important stakeholders when an emergency or incident occurs. This includes customers, investors, employees, and regulators—as well as those potentially impacted by an incident. Preparedness can evaluate the communications organization, procedures, scripts, and the ability of staff to communicate during an incident.
An emergency management and business continuity program is only as good as the ability of personnel to respond effectively during an emergency. The program evaluation includes interviews with participants and a review of training records. We can also evaluate your program by designing, facilitating, and evaluating drills and exercises. Drills and exercises are essential to hone skills and familiarize teams with plans, procedures, and incident management.
The culmination of the program evaluation is the submission of our report. We provide detailed recommendations prioritized to enable you to decide how to enhance your program. Recommendations include references to codes and standards.
This 200+ question checklist is based on NFPA 1600 “Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs” published by the National Fire Protection Association and available online for free download at www.nfpa.org/1600.
Our preparedness bulletins provide guidance for program development, implementation, and evaluation.
Conduct a risk assessment to identify the threats and hazards that could cause unacceptable impacts to the assets of your organization. Potential impacts are determined by the location and magnitude of the hazard, and vulnerabilities of the infrastructure, site, buildings, operations, systems, equipment, and people. A comprehensive risk assessment will provide a picture of risk that can be used to prioritize hazard mitigation and build other preparedness programs.
A BIA is a management-level analysis that identifies the potential impacts of business interruption and their escalation over time. Loss of revenue, loss of market share, deferred revenue (cash flow), increased expenses, regulatory fines, and contractual penalties (or loss of incentive bonuses) can be estimated. Impacts on relationships with customers, regulators, and other stakeholders are also considered.
There are many potential causes for supplier failure, and the impact to business operations can be significant. Analysis of supplier risk should begin by identifying the products that generate the most value to the organization. Next, identify the suppliers for those product lines. Survey all suppliers that are sole or single source then others that are considered highly valued. Construct a risk survey to help you understand the resiliency of your critical suppliers.
Emergency plans should include actions to protect life safety from foreseeable hazards identified during the risk assessment. Protective actions include evacuation, lockdown, and shelter-in-place. If an armed perpetrator is inside a building threatening or actively using a weapon to harm people, occupants must know whether to “run” from the building; “hide” from the perpetrator(s) (also known as “lockdown”), or “fight” (counter) the perpetrator.
Before the heavy snow warnings are broadcast and the frigid blasts of arctic weather arrive, it’s important to prepare your facility and your employees. Preparations before the severe weather can save costly damage to equipment and facilities and maintain important fire and life safety systems. Plans should also include actions to be taken if power or other utilities are interrupted.
Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall. Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam.
Hurricane season begins each year on June 1. No matter the forecast for number of storms, major hurricanes, and land-falling hurricanes, it only takes one storm to cause many deaths and billions in damages. “Superstorm” Sandy was not technically a hurricane when it made landfall, but it caused billions in damages. Recovery efforts continue years later.
Summer is thunderstorm season, and thunderstorms bring lightning, heavy rainfall, hail, and tornadoes. Resulting fatalities, property damage, and losses from business interruption are significant. Natural hazards can’t be prevented, but emergency management can protect life, mitigation can reduce property damage, and business continuity planning can speed recovery and reduce operational impacts.
Since 2009 the world has not faced a significant pandemic, but experts warn it is just a matter of time. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) reports that pandemics occur on average roughly three times per century. However, “scientists wouldn’t be all that shocked if pandemics started coming more frequently.” Now is the time to review, update, and exercise a pandemic preparedness program.
Will your preparedness program safeguard lives if there is a fire or active shooter? Will business continuity strategies enable you to continue priority operations when your building can’t be reoccupied? Will your communications plan enable you to quickly and effectively communicate with your customers and stakeholders as news is tweeted and blogged soon after emergency vehicles arrive? Auditing your program will answer these questions and identify opportunities for program improvement.