Planning for Disaster-Part 3

In the last post in this series, we talked about the first two groups of people you need to recover from any disaster. This time we will talk about the last group and get into a couple of other mandatory items.

  •  Production

No matter what kind of business you operate, from manufacturing or office oriented every single employee you have needs to be involved in this group. From front line employees, unionized or not (if they will allow it), supervisory and managerial people as well all need to kick in and do some of the dirty work of recovery.

Of course it may be necessary to divert some of your employees in this group to another one in the initial phases of the recovery. There will be innumerable tasks that need to be accomplished while the inspection of equipment, building, & etc. as well as the cleanup process.

Because in the initial phases the employees may be assigned to facilities to move equipment and set it up first, shelters and the like, the production group has the responsibility to assess the damage to the equipment, raw materials, and the sturdiness of the building itself. After they assess the damage and costs, they can begin to plan on getting production back into full operational mode.

If your facility is not manufacturing but for example say a call center, then you need a different set of parameters to get back into taking calls, and making money. The same would hold true for any business. You need to figure out what is necessary to get back into business and put your employees to work on it as soon as possible.

If that means they all have to be reassigned to clean-up then that is what needs to be done. Everyone who relies on the company, for a paycheck and payment of services, needs to be pushed in the right direction. It is simply that it is imperative for everyone to work together to get back to work.

  • Training

While it will be discussed in a later chapter I feel it’s necessary to point out the necessity of training employees in your DRP. They need to be drilled an Trained as often as necessary so that the response becomes second nature to them. And while that may mean nothing, because in a crisis people will react in ways different than they do in a simulation, counter-productive or not.

Types of Training:

The type of training you decide upon for your employees and company is as varied as the different kinds of companies that will write and implement a DRP.

There are 2 kinds that are especially effective; table tops and full blown drills. These training examples have been the target of confusion, so let me try to explain them.

Table Tops

These are actually designed for people to gather around and work through whatever scenario that was needed. Unfortunately, most of the ones I’ve been to resemble a classroom…the instructor giving us what is to be done with no time for questions or recommendations for improvement. It was the text book version of what should happen, meaning they didn’t expect any deviation from the plan for a fire, earthquake, or active shooter.

I’ve also participated in a few where it lasted for hours and was as intense of an experience as you could ever imagine. The facilitators threw monkey wrenches into the mix and did their best to discombobulate the people in the room…it worked. It caused confusion and eventually a change in the plan was forth coming that made it more effective and efficient.

I also participated in exercises where the entire facility was mocked up in detail on the table. This was for a large corporate campus and they were exercising a multiple perpetrator /incident scenario. The campus was hit at several points at the same time by a terrorist group.

Full Blown Drills

In this case you need to, at least twice a year, have a walk thru drill. This is simply just an evacuation and walk thru of the actual plan. It’s like the fire drills we had in school, or for those old enough to remember, nuclear strike drills. But there are two types within this drill.

The first is the simple walk through where everyone turns off machinery, closes out documents, and etc. before exiting the work area to a safe zone. This is the traditional fire/tornado/nuclear holocaust drills.

The 2nd kind and most intensive of the two is the literal full-blown exercise. You will need to coordinate it with every local agency you can to assist and not cause confusion, which has its own hazards. From police/sheriff, fire, hospital/ambulance, National Guard, and so on. These exercises should go the full route with simulated injured and dead.

I participated in one that had a simulated explosion in one of their manufacturing plants. We had searchers, rescuers. Police, fire, ambulance, and off-duty medical personnel that showed up to help. It was a great drill and the plan was re-evaluated and rewritten to be more efficient and effective because the ‘book learnin’ that it was formulated under didn’t work very well.

If you schedule a full blown exercise, then you don’t want to tell your employees that you are having one, per se. You can tell them you will have one, just not when. Surprise is the best option in a training scenario because it allows you to grade the responses accordingly.

But one thing you absolutely have to remember with any planned training, DRP, or anything of the sort “Everyone has a plan… until you get punched in the mouth!” Mike Tyson or Twitter: robertsollars2.

                                         I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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