Each week of National Preparedness Month has a theme. We are now in the third week of the month and this week's theme is "Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters." Think of this just like the fire drills we did as kids in school. You have to teach the younger generation what they may have to confront, so they too can be prepared.
Are you prepared?
Every September, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency declare National Preparedness Month. The theme for 2019 is “Prepared, Not Scared.” In light of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian, this is certainly timely. We have seen various weather types become more severe in recent years so it is more important than ever to prepare for what have been unthinkable, but it now become almost routine.
A wealth of preparedness resources may be found on the DHS website ready.gov. I encourage you to bookmark this site and visit it regularly to check for updates. Each week of September has a theme as well. This year’s themes are Save Early for Disasters, Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters, Tech Youth to Prepare for Disasters and Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness. When I think of things like this, I always here my mom in the back of my head: “Better to have a plan and not need it than need a plan and not have it.” Wise words. Perhaps the government listened to her.
While the focus of National Preparedness Month is on family and community, this all applies to business as well. The topics this year cover a wide and comprehensive range of preparedness actions. From reviewing your insurances to documenting your belonging and saving money to carry you through a disaster to building a kit to ride out a disaster, making sure youth understand what to do in a disaster and volunteering to help if your community. Review the multitude of links at ready.gov to find actionable resources to help you take action and have discussions to safeguard your family and community should the need arise.
From a business perspective, this all applies as well. You can take the principals of preparedness and apply it to your business, so you can be sure that you team is able to safely come through a disaster while protecting their families and your business.
There is a technology angle to preparedness as well. After all, this is the Tech Talk column. You should role play likely disaster scenarios and ensure several things. You should ensure that you are able to communicate with your team, especially those who are out of the office or work remotely. You should have a test a business continuity plan. Most people focus on backup and disaster recovery when thinking about technical preparedness. This is certainly necessary because if any of your systems are damaged due to a disaster you will have to recover. However, business continuity is different.
Business continuity is about keeping your business functional through a disaster. At a minimum, this means being able to communicate not just internally, but with your clients and business partners. If a disaster strikes, the most important thing is being able to let your audience know the status of your business and whether you are available to them through the event. Having systems that can withstand a local disaster is easier than ever thanks to Cloud infrastructure technologies.
You may very well be able to keep your business fully functional through a disaster event. While this is a very good thing, it does not take in to account whether or not your team will be able to work in such an event. The point being, technology allows for better business continuity than ever before. We’ve seen this play out through past weather related events. Take the time to consider what your business may or may not need in terms of business continuity and make your plan. Above all else, always stay safe.