You avert disaster on a daily basis. Every day things happen but you hardly notice because you know how to handle them. You probably worked with a light bulb failure in the executive elevator, or the mobile hoist decided to stay where it was bringing a critical process to a screeching halt. Maybe you still tell stories about a service closet that flooded a data switch and knocked out the master antenna or you take pride in the time you brought the master board back to control after it started flashing randomly. These mini-disasters don’t make for a great day, but with training and some experience you’ve learned to face down and fix the daily disasters that come with the job.
But what about the disasters you don’t want to think about, or haven’t faced before: the once in a lifetime disaster. If you’re not in the hurricane zone, you’re in tornado alley or epicenter for earthquakes. Your worst weather fear may be a flood, or a long freeze or unrelenting summer heat. A perfect storm of circumstances could produce a fire you’re not prepared for, or if not fire a lot of smoke that shuts down several floors of your facility. Who’s ready for multiple average size disasters like a power outage that robs you of your ability to bring a busted water pipe under control?
Recently the news had a story about an overloaded parking garage roof that collapsed down all eight floors rendering the whole garage unusable. Some disasters come without the drama, like discovering a mold infestation in your product warehouse, or a slow water leak that was soaked up by an important cable bundle.
The best way to deal with a disaster is with a plan.
List the disasters and scenarios you might encounter. Consider the obvious, the weather-related disasters, breach of service, outages and shortages, mechanical failures and interruptions way beyond your control like a toxic spill in front of your building.
For each disaster determine what the effects might be. List which services will be lost, what equipment and processes that could be put out of commission. Then add the services, equipment, supplies and specialists needed to be in place to prevent or mitigate the effects. A good plan will list each element along with chosen suppliers and 24/7 contact information.
Another way to construct a plan is to list all the critical elements in your building, corporate campus, industrial complex, warehouse, hospital or data center. List all the services that support the equipment, provide supplies, control the services or maintain process equipment. Then no matter what the disaster you know who to contact for each system, product or service affected.
Another critical element in a successful disaster recovery plan is to have a communications policy in place.
The sooner the disaster is diagnosed, the easier it will be to mitigate it. Staff should be comfortable reporting a disaster and should know when to alert management, who to alert, how to alert them, and how to put the disaster plan into action when authorized.
Include a partner in your partner
When disaster strikes it’s good to have someone at your side who has been through it all before. Someone who knows your site, equipment, and operations is even better. Your partner can help you perform the dual jobs of keeping your operations moving smoothly and acting as a go between the local, national and even industry-specific recovery companies offering a range of services to speed your recovery.
Your first disaster might be waiting
Waiting to start planning could be your first disaster. We can help you in all phases of your disaster planning from assessment and situation planning to options and recovery plans and even staff augmentation and logistics. We’d be happy to open the conversation about disaster planning. We’d even be happy to hear your disaster stories.