September is recognized as “National Preparedness Month”, a time to encourage all persons to take steps towards preparing for various types of disasters and emergencies that could potentially disrupt our lives.
September serves as a crucial reminder to secure not just our homes and families but also, notably, our businesses. Disasters — be they natural, technological, or human-initiated — can have a damaging effect on businesses of all sizes. Unplanned disasters have been known to cripple even the most robust organizations, underscoring the necessity for business continuity planning.
The Impact of Disasters on Businesses
The damage disasters can cause is not merely physical but can extend to a financial catastrophe and considerable business disruption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that 40% of businesses never reopen after experiencing a catastrophic disaster. Yet, many businesses tend to underestimate these odds, forgoing disaster recovery preparations or operating with outdated contingency plans.
Why Should Businesses be Aware of National Preparedness Month?
During National Preparedness Month, businesses are encouraged to reflect on their existing disaster preparedness strategies and identify areas of improvement. A business that is well-prepared can mitigate the impact of crises and recover much more rapidly, reducing downtime, retaining client trust, continuing with business, and protecting revenues.
A robust disaster preparedness plan gives businesses the advantage of being able to predict and handle potential risks proactively. It ensures continuity and seamless operation even in the face of unanticipated disruptions, thereby safeguarding the company’s assets, reputation, and staff.
Building a Disaster Preparedness Strategy
A robust strategy for disaster preparedness and recovery involves several key steps:
- Identify Potential Risks – Analyze the most likely disaster scenarios that could impact your business. This could vary from natural disasters to cyber-attacks or even pandemic situations like Covid-19.
- Create a Crisis Response Team – Assign a dedicated team responsible for managing and executing the disaster preparedness plan.
- Prepare a Business Continuity Plan – This is a comprehensive document detailing the steps the business will take to ensure continuity in the face of a disaster.
- Build an Emergency Communication Strategy – Develop clear protocols for how internal and external communication will take place during a disaster scenario.
- Regular Testing and Updating – The disaster preparedness strategy should be treated as a living document, revised, and updated regularly to ensure its relevance.
National Preparedness Month reminds everyone of the need for comprehensive disaster preparedness. Businesses that take this annual initiative seriously are not only safeguarding their operations and assets, but they are also sending a clear message to their customers, partners, and employees — in the face of crisis, they are sturdy, dependable, and ready.