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200 Words on… Creating a Disaster Plan

What do you do when the unexpected happens? When a small plane hits one of the schools in your district? When an executive is accused of misconduct? When a fire breaks out in your stockroom? A disaster/crisis-management plan should take the guesswork out of “what do we do now?”

Part I – Creation of a Disaster Plan.

1 – Determine who will be in charge of all aspects of an emergency. Designate primary and backup personnel for media communications, emergency-agency coordination, staff communications.
2 – Have updated contact info for staff, media, emergency agencies.
3 – Communicate the plan to all employees. Review it regularly. Update it regularly.
4 – Plan for specific events (earthquakes in California), as well as the unexpected (earthquakes in Iowa). And remember, a disaster/crisis is not always a physical event – plan for scandals, product recalls, etc.
5 – Have plans to protect your most valuable business assets (records, data backups, electronics, etc.).
6 – Address the “what next?” aspects. Once the immediate crisis is contained, what will be needed to get your business back up to speed – facilities, personnel, product, etc.?
7 – Test your plan. This can be a whiteboard exercise or a full-on scenario.

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