Wondering how your firm stacks up for disaster planning? Here are some tips from crisis experts and firms that have weathered disasters.
Review insurance policies. If policies have been reduced in lean times, don't forget to restore them in good times. Specifically check business-interruption policies, which cover the cost of business lost to crises. Not all policies will pay for things like overtime after the incident, because it may not be tied to specific lost orders.
Contact federal or state disaster planning agencies for help, or consider hiring a consultant who specializes in crisis preparation.
Develop a central phone list of key contacts in government, the media and within the firm. Have plenty of wireless phones.
Create a communications plan for the press and public. Avoid technical jargon, explicitly express sympathy and explain what the company is doing to help.
Practice implementing the disaster plan to see how long it takes to perform basic functions, like emptying file cabinets. Make sure the proper equipment is accessible.
Assume the disaster plan will not be implemented correctly, and see if any areas could be choke points where an unintended problem will lead to serious harm.