Be prepared

With today marking the eighth anniversary of 9/11, there’s been a great deal of news coverage about that day. MSNBC rebroadcast its 2001 coverage in an “as it happened” style this morning. And amid remembering all of the shocking events of that day, an idea came to me.

Wouldn’t it be great if all companies and businesses adapted September 11th – or the week of September 11th – as a time to test their evacuation plans and business continuity plans?

Of course, many companies have drills quarterly or biannually, and they’re constantly updating those plans and testing different scenarios. But it would be great to have a date, or a time frame, where companies focus on disseminating that information and testing it.

I’ve worked on disaster recovery/business continuity plans, and companies will usually do a great job of developing a plan…..which then sits in a corner and gathers dust. No one does a test run, names and contact information don’t get updated, and it becomes an obsolete pile of papers, yellowing away in a binder.

If workers need a reminder that underscores how important it is to know what to do in the event of an emergency, 9/11 is clearly it.

It would be an easy trigger for people to remember something that might otherwise be easy to forget or overlook. Firefighters and safety experts wisely tied changing the batteries in your smoke alarms to changing the clock for Daylight Savings Time, and thousands of lives have probably been saved by functional smoke alarms as a result.

We could probably prevent injuries and save lives at work if companies across the country would adopt this idea.

One comment

  1. I think that your idea is a great one – a time on the calendar for companies to take their business continuance plan and test, revise, update and so on. There is also much evidence that many companies need to be more diligent with business continuity, as so many businesses and individuals simply do not have plans in place that will enable operations to continue to function if there is an event that impacts staff’s ability to get into the office, or when the office becomes inaccessible. So much of the solution is to simply have a plan, communicate the plan, and ensure that the plan is tested and viable. And for so many – finding the time and effort to put into place a plan is the limiting factor. I recommend companies find the time to bring in external resources on a very tightly defined deliverable to provide a plan that the company can take ownership of, the alternative of doing nothing can be extremely damaging to the company, their customers and the employees. Maybe your BCP week is the theme that ensures it sticks in the fronts of the minds of management.

    Thanks Kevin. I like the simplicity of the change-your-batteries reminder, and this seems like something equally simply for businesses and companies – as well as something that’s easy to comply with.

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