Business Preparedness for Community Resilience

Business Preparedness for Community Resilience

[MUSIC] Disasters happen in every community,
and they come in all shapes and sizes. From a simple incident
affecting one community. [SOUND] To a major catastrophe
affecting an entire region. To restore order following
such a catastrophe. And to rebuild the community,
everyone must work together, as they all have a role to play. Police, fire, EMS, and
other response agencies, non-governmental and community based organizations,
as well as small and large businesses that operate in,
and serve the community. The private sector is the center
of economic activity. And it operates much of our
society’s critical infrastructure. Communication and power networks,
banks, grocery stores, pharmacies and healthcare providers, are just some of
the businesses essential to any community. The faster these businesses recover. The faster the community can respond,
and rebuild following a catastrophe. Imagine what could happen if a large
communications company were impacted by a hurricane. Damaging much of its infrastructure. This kind of destruction
could take months to repair, and in the meantime many essential
services may not be available. Such as telecommunications, internet access,
credit card processing, and the shipment of merchandise. The result could be a fragmented
community in which residents and businesses, are not able to
carry out normal activities. Businesses can mitigate potential
impacts from different kinds of disasters before they strike. By developing business continuity plans,
or BCPs. A BCP is a blueprint that businesses follow,
to maintain essential services and operations following an emergency or
disaster. By conducting an initial business impact
analysis, a business can identify and analyze critical aspects,
like operations, resource requirements. Staffing, hazards and impacts effecting services, and options to
tax code so they can draft an effective BCP. Let’s say a certain company requires
constant and consistent power. [SOUND] To deal with
damages of a major storm, it relies on a backup generator
to keep its business functioning. But, just having this backup
generator is not enough. It must be located in an area,
that won’t be at risk of storm damage. But even that might not be sufficient. The company must also consider, for
example, where they will get fuel for this backup generator, and how much extra fuel
they might need to sustain their operations. Furthermore, the business must take into
account their staffing requirements for central operation. [SOUND] In order for these critical staff
members to be able to focus on the tasks at hand, they must be confident that their
families and personal lives are secure. [SOUND] Effective business
continuity planning will take into account these kinds of issues,
infrastructure, supplies, staff, and so on and will include many possible
solutions to problems that might arise. From ensuring that repair crews and trucks are not struck in toll booths,
to delays in receiving important information. In addition, building relationships
within the business community and with government and community based
organizations before a disaster strikes, can also improve a businesses’
disaster preparedness. These connections are critical to information
and resource sharing during a catastrophe. Contact your industry association to
see whether they have information on business continuity best practices for
your type of business, and whether they have a liaison with a local government for
disaster preparedness and response. Reach out to your local emergency management
office to find out if they have tools for effective BCP planning, and a program for sharing emergency information
with the private sector. Connect with other business to
share each other’s plans and capabilities, to best support each other and
your community. [SOUND] Create ongoing connections
with local government and community organisations to understand
the community’s needs, and what role your business can
play in recovery efforts. Get your business involved in training and exercises, to better prepare for
disaster response. [SOUND] A prepared private sector means
a stronger, more resilient community. From the smallest business
to the largest corporation. The involvement of the private sector
in preparedness, response, and recovery efforts is of critical importance. Making a plan that insures your
business can survive a disaster, is a great first step to
strengthening your community. [MUSIC]

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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