The summer of 2023 has seen some very unusual situations: Floods, Fire, Smoke, Hail, Drought, High Temperatures. All extreme experiences. How are you prepared if any one of these should happen to your organization?
This month in Nova Scotia Flooding In Nova Scotia Today – Bing News
Wildfires in Western Canada Wildfire burning near Kamloops growing rapidly | CTV News
All these extremes are unprecedented. How do you prepare in the event something like this happens to your organization and causes closure to your premises?
No one expects these could happen to them, but everyone needs a Disaster Plan if the unthinkable does happen.
In all of these situations, all planners, no matter how experienced or systematic they may be, tend to overlook certain items. Some of these are “small but crucial” items which simply add insult to injury when disaster occurs, but can threaten the survival of the organization.
These overlooked items fall into a number of general areas
*Intuitively assuming how other departments function
*Forgetting “unforgettable” events
*Missing things “too close to see”
*Failure to track out of the ordinary situations
*Ignoring “external” factors
*Not keeping “outside” emergency organizations up-to-date
Intuitively Assuming How Other Departments Function
All organizations depend on a series of ancillary support functions, such as janitorial, mail delivery, cheque printing, voice mail and HR, etc.
Some of the oversights include:
*Personnel files stored in non-fireproof file cabinets
*Lack of an ability to access employee’ voice mail if they are incapacitated
*Accounting department with a customized signature cheque printer, requiring weeks to replace
*Lack of procedure to track location of hazardous material used by janitors or manufacturing, that could spread through the facility through fire or flood
*Not having an offsite listing of contact numbers for couriers/deliveries to advise of a new delivery address if your location is unable to receive or ship
Forgetting “Unforgettable” Events
Almost all organizations have had some kind of disaster whether major or minor. Many fail to document the details of what went wrong, what went right, what they have learned, what they need to change in the future, and a follow up tracking procedure. Document everything.
Missing Things “Too Close To See”
Telephone and networking panels are usually located on a wall where the wires enter the building. They are rarely covered to protect from water coming down the wall.
All exit doors need to be operable from the inside without a key. If the door is locked there needs to be a way to exit the building
Safes containing key documents must be fireproof as well as burglar proof. If they are not insulated the contents will be incinerated by fire or destroyed by water. Knight Archives recommends all key documents should be stored off-site in a secure record center.
Failure To Track Out -of-the-Ordinary Situations
Tracking “non-normal” situations such as a temporarily disabled employee (on crutches) who requires special assistance in an emergency, or a back-up for an absent employee who has a specific job in the case of an emergency. There should be contingency plans in place.
Ignoring “External” Factors
Many organizations don’t take proper cognizance of the fact that they are located nearby or within areas which can be the focus of natural disasters or man- made disasters such as violence or demonstrations.
Sometimes a neighboring organization can have a disaster that can adversely affect you, such as a fire that blocks you from your business, or they have hazardous material situation that could prevent you from entering your premise. Develop a wider perspective to include an outside region wide disaster.
Not Keeping “Outside” Emergency Organizations Up-to-Date
Always keep the fire and police departments up-to-date on new contact lists and changes in your premise. Knight Archives suggests these be updated annually unless there has been a change in the information and then the update should be immediate.
Knight Archives is a Niagara company that can help develop your disaster planning. Call us at 905-563-0847.