Categories: Emergency Response Preparedness, Emergency Response, Preservation & Stabilization
When disaster strikes, your business should be prepared with a detailed plan to become
operational again with minimal downtime. The faster you can recover from an unexpected
event, the less your workers, reputation, and bottom line will suffer. Learn how to create an
effective business contingency plan with risk response to help you get back to normal
operations after a disaster or incident.
What is a contingency plan?
Businesses may not be able to predict every scenario that can disrupt a facility, but leadership
teams can create a roadmap based on the risks associated with a business model to guide
decision-makers during a crisis.
That's what a contingency plan does. It provides important information for your management
team to use during an unexpected event to help resume normal operations as quickly as
possible. A contingency plan helps protect lives and equipment, saves time and money, and
speeds up recovery time.
What are the benefits of contingency planning?
- Saving time and money. When management knows an incident plan ahead of time, they
can respond to the unexpected faster, minimizing downtime. This can often protect
employees and equipment from harm, as well as your bottom line.
- Saving lives. Some disasters are life-threatening. Having a contingency plan in place can
help management take swift action to mitigate dangerous situations.
- Quick recovery time. Contingency plans reduce response time, giving your team the
information they need to recover from an incident sooner.
- Minimizing damage. A contingency plan helps management make important decisions in
the heat of the moment to help minimize damage to the facility.
- Avoiding negative press. How a business reacts to an unexpected event is a crucial part
of brand reputation management. The above contingency plan benefits can minimize the
impact of an incident, reducing or preventing negative press.
6 Important Contingency Plan Steps to Minimize Facility Damage and Recovery
Contingency plans give leadership teams information on how to best react and what to do next
during a crisis. To do this effectively, you'll want to include the following steps in your
contingency planning process.
1. Identify key risks in your business model.
A contingency plan should start by identifying any key risks a business model may have. Try to
think of these categorically. For instance, equipment failure, loss of staff, or lacking key
parts/materials could all fall under the category of resource disruption. While you'll want to
create a unique plan of action for each identified risk, those that share a category often have similar disaster response information or steps. Categories you might want to include are:
- Natural disasters
- Accidental man-made disruptions
- Intentional man-made disruptions
- Critical equipment breakdown
- Resource disruption
Once you've identified the key risks to your business, you can create a step-by-step plan
required to get your business back up and running in each scenario. This is the foundation of
your contingency plan.
2. Choose a specialized and trusted recovery partner.
Now that you have an idea of which incidents and risks you would like to protect your business
from, it’s time to choose trusted recovery partners. Recovery partners are companies that
specialize in helping businesses resume operations as quickly as possible after an unexpected
event occurs. They might provide services such as facility cleaning, equipment decontamination/repair/recertification, and much more. They are also key partners to work with during the
contingency planning process.
These professionals can offer helpful advice on a wide variety of disastrous scenarios, some of
which may not have been considered during your own risk evaluation. They also have extensive
experience in what will be needed to recover from these incidents quickly.
Be sure your partner has a 24/7 emergency response team because disaster doesn’t always
happen during business hours.
3. Learn about your community.
Local know-how is important to create an effective contingency plan. Research weather trends
in the area and any possible natural disasters. Understand how to contact all the local
emergency services, include this information in your contingency plan, and post it throughout
the facility so employees aren’t searching for contact information in an emergency.
Review your community's critical systems (and your own) to determine what is needed to keep
your system up and running should the community system fault. Having a standby natural gas-
powered generator, or a backup commercial sump pump in geographical areas that
accommodate underground operations/storage may be crucial to minimize the impact during a
community system failure.
4. Determine your site needs before disaster strikes.
Carefully consider your facility’s unique needs while creating a contingency plan. Documenting these needs will help you make a better plan for each risk scenario. Start with an initial site
inspection. This might clue you in to additional risks that were not initially considered while also
helping tailor your plan to the facility itself.There are two additional site considerations you'll want to include in your contingency plan:
- Access points throughout the facility. Build a map of all access points to the facility, listing
which doors or access points are locked or secured. Include this in your contingency plan,
so you can share it with emergency responders if necessary.
- Directions to your location. Include a list of clear directions to your facility so employees
don’t have to remember this information during a crisis. This will help emergency responders
find you as soon as possible.
5. Develop a quickly-activated emergency response plan.
Now that you’ve identified possible risks, know how the community might impact your facility,
and have completed an initial site inspection, it is time to document the response plan. Consider
items such as an equipment rental contact list, an equipment restoration or reconditioning
partner list, any emergency system shutdown action items, a PR response plan, and so on.
A detailed emergency response plan will conclude your contingency planning process. Once
drafted, the plan should be reviewed by any key stakeholders for feedback and potential
6. Educate facility managers and their decision-makers.
Once you've created a business contingency plan, be sure the right people know about it. Share
it with facility managers and have them walk through the plan with their teams, ensuring
decision-makers have access to the written plan and understand it thoroughly.
Post contact information for emergency response teams and recovery experts throughout the
facility, noting to employees where they can find this information. Also include how each point of
contact can help with answers, equipment, or emergency response.
Businesses seeking a disaster recovery partner for building and production equipment should
talk to the AREPA team. We can help get your business back to normal operation quickly after
any incident. With 24/7 services and response teams around the world, we can be there when
you need us.