Magazine / Emergency & Crisis Management Dec 21, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Emergency management plan: what it is and why every company needs one

Many companies still lack an emergency management plan to shield them from business disruptions, guarantee business continuity, and protect people and assets. An organized system is vital for maintaining control; an important weapon in any company's arsenal, as amply demonstrated by the sudden advent of the Covid19 epidemic.

Approximately one in five companies are not ready to face a possible business interruption. A large number, especially if we consider the high cost of a sudden emergency. It is essential to develop flexible contingency plans to manage expected and unforeseen risks.


From small malfunctions to maxi-emergencies

When talking about emergency plans, people usually imagine large scale disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, bombings, etc. However, for most businesses, most problems arise from minor unexpected or trivial events: a leaking pipe, a malfunctioning door, internet disconnection, or a power line down. It is these everyday problems that compromise service quality and bring reputational damages, leading to economic losses. Having a thought-out system to check on people and tools, with precise plans on how to act in the event of a malfunction, makes the difference between long-term damage and minimal interruptions. It is healthy to revise the plans and include a degree of flexibility to make them actionable.

Things to consider when developing an emergency plan

Each company has multiple tools and people working to ensure the safety of its facility and processes. However, these elements are not always fully coordinated. A complete map of all equipment (hardware, software, personnel) is needed together with a tool, such as Control 1st, to aggregate the data into a single platform. Companies can thus monitor every aspect of the process and quickly intercept problems. Resources roles must be clearly defined: the execution manager, the chain of command, the security team, each with their tasks and steps. The mission-critical functions must be decided; specifically which core activities come first and which can be tackled at a later time. Potential risks and the fragile business areas need to be identified together with each scenario's probability. Costs need to be estimated both in terms of downtime and intervention and planning. Finally, the plan is not complete without a monitoring tool that aggregates the workforce and technology to spot the unexpected before they happen. The plan must be tested and reviewed to identify any flaws or unthought problems. Last but not least, effective communication through appropriate tools, such as an internal app for emergencies and an SMS service.

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