Disasters come in many forms, from man made scenarios such as terrorist attacks to "acts of god" such as floods, earthquakes, fires, etc. Likewise, preparedness comes in many different forms from simple phone rosters to full blown disaster drills. The main issue is that there are so many different scenarios it is both cumbersome and time intensive to plan and train to them all. Subsequently, most companies adopt legacy procedures (those that are written by someone else, those that are left over from years ago and/or those found online), provide simple minimalistic briefings to their employees and forget about it. When an actual disaster occurs, the vast majority of companies are ill prepared to deal with the situation.
Disaster Plan Training is Critical for Companies and Employee Safety
Disaster preparedness does not need to be complicated or address every potential eventuality, rather they can be somewhat generic in their construct with specific actions in very select situations. By taking this path, companies will have actionable plans that employees can easily remember and follow should a disaster occur. Planning and training is critical for companies and employee safety.
Companies Must Update and Review their Disaster Plan
Another major issue with regards to disaster preparedness is their updates, practice and follow through. Again, most companies write a plan/s, put them in a binder and place it on the shelve without ever reviewing it, updating it or exercising it. Unfortunately, daily business and general life gets in the way of doing these things, but when something actually happens, no one even remembers there was a plan in the first place. By adopting a simpler plan that involves as many employees as possible, it will hopefully remain viable when something does occur.
Disaster preparedness should be a “holistic” plan meaning that as many employees as possible have input to the plan development. It is very easy to develop a plan in a vacuum by one person or department (like HR), however there can (and will) be issues and contributing factors that will be missed. By including as many departments and people as possible, it guarantees the plan will be as robust and useful as possible. Additionally, this approach will address issues that may not be common knowledge such as a specific individual needs, problems and concerns.
Companies must make disaster preparedness an integral component of their routine training. It should be reviewed at least semiannually but more preferably quarterly. Additionally, the plan should be exercised throughout the year to reinforce the plan. The entire plan does not need to be exercised; a better approach is to exercise specific segments of the plan at various times throughout the year. The exercise can be as simple as an “all hands” meeting to an actual activation of the plan; regardless of how it is done, it is imperative that the results of the exercise be reviewed and the plan updated.
Disaster Preparedness Training
SBS Training Solutions can assist your company in developing a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan and provide guidance in its training, updating and review. Please contact SBS for more information.