In the early part of August I attended the Iowa Contingency Planners (ICP) annual conference. The theme this year was: Back to the Basics Plan Roughly – Execute Superbly. Lloyd Smith was the keynote speaker for the conference. Lloyd is an MBCP and president of Business & Government Continuity Services in Oklahoma City. In his presentation, Lloyd covered a great deal of basic preparedness material.
It’s always good to reiterate best practices and other considerations for continuity planning and emergency preparedness. For me, it is not uncommon to hear something for the second, third, or fourth time and make a connection that I’ve never made before. For instance, as Lloyd discussed the need for multiple assembly points in case a building needs to be evacuated (you don’t want personnel assembling downwind of a fire) he stressed the importance of proper assembly so that you can verify everyone is out of the building. Nothing new there, we need to make sure everyone is out of the building. If someone is missing they could be in trouble. But we also need to consider the firefighters. We need to account for personnel properly so that we don’t put firefighters at risk unnecessarily. That’s a slightly different angle to stress to employees. Proper assembly isn’t just about their own safety, they have a responsibility to first responders. That added emphasis could get a few more employees to take building evacuation a little more seriously.
Another thought I had as I listened to Lloyd’s presentation: It is often stressed that we need to have emergency plans for our families. People will not come to work until their families are taken care of, so it is in the interest of the employer to make sure employees have plans for their families. It might be a good idea to include in a company awareness program, a seminar where employees actually put together family emergency kits. Of course there are budget constraints but possibly an inexpensive backpack, an address book, maps, or other inexpensive items might be distributed along with guidance material for additional emergency items.
The conference also included a panel discussion on insurance. I was pleasantly surprised by this discussion as there were a number of interesting and valuable points made. At the onset the point was made that insurance is a source of distraction and delay in recovering business after an event. Time is spent getting approvals, justifying expenditures, etc. instead of recovering your business. Your planning should take this into account. One valuable tidbit that I’m sure I’ve heard before; setup a separate bank account for your recovery expenditures. This will save work later when you need to identify what was spent on recovery for your insurance claim.
There were several other shorter presentations at the conference. I ended up taking quite a few notes which tells me the ICP was well worth my time. Thanks to the people at the Iowa Contingency Planners for putting together another good conference.