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Emergencies and disasters don’t discriminate. They can affect any organization or business, including yours. The most obvious examples we hear about are disasters, such as wildfires, flooding, and earthquakes, which we expect could significantly disrupt operations at most businesses.  Snow storms, power outages, floods, fires and hazardous materials accidents do occur regularly, and can impact your business at several levels from your employees to your bottom line.

Here are the top five ways a Business Continuity Plan can help your organization minimize the effects of emergencies and disasters:

  1. Ensure important business operations continue. A Business Continuity Plan helps identify even simple contingency plans, such as installing generators to ensure important equipment continues to operate during power outages.
  2. Allow for remote operation. A larger event, such as a fire or flood, could prevent your staff from getting to your premises. A Business Continuity Plan could include processes that would, for example, enable staff to work from a remote location via laptops or tablet computers.
  3. Protect your important assets, such as customer and accounting data. An important aspect of Business Continuity Planning is identifying your key assets and ensuring they are stored in secured locations. In the case of data, you may want to create a duplicate storage facility in a secondary location.
  4. Reduce your downtime. Every hour your business is down costs you money. With a Business Continuity Plan in place, you will get back up and running more quickly.
  5. Prevention of business losses. During larger events, your business could be down for an extended period of time, resulting in significant revenue losses. Ultimately, a Business Continuity Plan could prevent your business from partial or permanent losses.

A Business Continuity Plan is important at many levels, and will ensure you minimize costs and reduce down time even during a small event, such as a power outage. In a larger event, like an earthquake, a solid Business Continuity Plan could actually mean the difference between whether your business recovers, or simply cannot recoup the losses.
So who in your organization should be responsible? At many larger organizations, such as hospitals and utility companies, the Emergency Manager, Safety Manager or Security Manager also responsible for the Business Continuity Plan. At smaller organizations, or those without a formalized safety or emergency management structure, the Facility Manager, Operations Manager or Administrator could be tasked with developing the plan.