Emergency plans need to have clear and concise directions for stakeholders in the event of an emergency.

Outlining key roles and risks serves as the foundation of a comprehensive emergency plan. Most organizations have this information stored in a binder and, in the event of an emergency, someone has to find the binder. However, one in five companies do not have an emergency plan or business continuity plan in place, according to the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA). Emergency plans can provide guidance on actions, roles and responsibilities in case of an incident, whether the emergency event happens on-site or is impacted by a natural disaster.

In today’s world, linking your emergency planning process with a cloud-based facility and maintenance management solution can simplify execution if an emergency event does happen. It can ensure procedures align with your business standards, as well as provide key stakeholders access to essential documents stored within the system.

Whether you have an emergency plan in place or if you are implementing a plan for the first time, there are 3 key areas to focus on:

1. Define the Risks and Who Needs to Be Notified If They Happen

Define the top risks for your business. What regions tend to be hit with what disasters and how can you prepare for them better? With this knowledge in mind, you can prepare better for the possibilities of what can go wrong and get back in business faster with better procedures in place.

Identify the stakeholders that need to be notified when something has gone wrong. Do not forget that you need to know how to get key information from site and regional managers in the face of a crisis as well. Make sure your system is set up to enable you to do this. This can be done through site auditing functionality and site surveys to make sure your stores are reporting back when you need key information.

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2. Analyze the Plan Before You Have to Use It

It may seem odd to analyze your emergency plan before you ever execute it, but this analysis is an important step that helps you understand what your organization would experience if there were an emergency.

To start, calculate the potential costs associated with downtime caused by an emergency. For example, if you are a national retailer serving communities across the country, an understanding of downtime, stock loss and lost revenue weeks is imperative to estimating the impact to your organization's bottom line.

As part of your analysis, take a look at your execution plan. It is important to update your communication plan on a regular basis, so you can ensure employees are aware of the protocol in the event of an emergency and everyone in your facilities can stay safe.

3. Execute the Plan

While you cannot fully execute on your emergency plan until an actual emergency occurs, there are several things that can be done to test your plan. For one, you must test the various elements of the plan to ensure these elements are helping to minimize risk. To do so, conduct drills with all the key stakeholders to gauge response and execution.

Based on the insight that you gain through these practice sessions, make adjustments to your emergency plans. These should be refreshed and iterated on year over year as your business and conditions change.

Emergency plans are critical to your business and the people you serve every day. To learn more about disaster planning with your CMMS, contact us today.