In previous blog posts, we’ve stressed the importance of proper disaster training and developed a questionnaire the smart facility manager can use to improve his/her operation’s emergency preparedness.
It’s important to remember, however, the critical challenges facility managers in different regions face. For instance, a facilities manager working in Oklahoma City faces the threat of tornadoes as opposed to his/her professional counterpart working on the Gulf Coast who is on constant alert for the threat of a hurricane six months out of the year.
Nevertheless, experts believe Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history and deadliest outside the southern states in more than four decades, exposed facilities managers’ vulnerability to a variety of emergency scenarios affecting more people.
Unfortunately, some facilities managers get distracted in the details when looking at the bigger picture and trying to define all of the potential critical risks involved.
It’s so easy to get distracted by the infrastructure. At times, facilities managers forget all of the employees who must be involved in order to develop a plan. Not to mention, individual departments throughout a facility may work on separate, exclusive plans and never take into account the needs of other areas or the involvement of other employees.
The most important thing for a facilities manager to do is bring every department into the communication loop. This will not only build a solid plan, but immediately identify a pecking order of critical and vital services that must be operational and reliable with limited resources, minus the help of local vendors.
Along those lines, the facilities manager must ask each department head to prioritize which services they believe are truly critical, and how their absence affects the entire organization.
After carefully laying out a plan vetted by establishing solid lines of communication among departments, it’s time to practice it, says Bart Copes, Vanguard Resources’ Vice President of Business Development and a trained emergency responder.
“Practice, practice, practice is critical. If you don’t fail during the exercise, you really aren’t exercising the emergency operations plan.”
For more guidance on developing a disaster plan for your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.