Is Your Organization Prepared for an Emergency?

July 18, 2018

Find Out by Asking These 5 Questions

Many forward-thinking businesses and public sector organizations have some sort of an emergency plan ready to deploy when disaster strikes. But having a plan in place is only one component of a successful emergency preparedness strategy. Will your plan work in a variety of emergency situations?


1. Does your organization have all-hazard risk assessment and business-continuity plans?  

Implementing an all-hazards planning approach to assess potential risks is a necessity to mitigate impacts to business operations and to ensure the safety of your workforce.  By understanding risks, organizations may build collaborative teams from various departments to identify gaps, build capabilities, and exercise to validate operational concepts.  This process ensures all stakeholders have the right knowledge to lead and respond effectively to emergencies and incidents.

2. Are your plans automatically updated when changes to personnel, clients, and software occur?   

You’ve taken the right steps in developing plans. Don’t stop!  Ensure to set a schedule to update your plans.  People come and go and so does the knowledge, if you don’t pass it along.   Establish communications to share updates with key personnel and clients.

3. Do your plans undergo regular testing with measurable goals and outcomes?  

Strengthening your plan through a training and exercise program.  Establish goals and priorities into specific objectives and exercises.  Coordinate exercise activities, conduct after-actions and develop improvement actions plans.

4. Do your plans allow for multi-jurisdictional interoperability, such as following the National Incident Management System (NIMS) including Incident Command System (ICS)?   

All incidents and emergencies bring a degree of chaos, but you can mitigate this by implementing basic response structures found in NIMS/ICS.  Why use NIM/ICS?  All your first responders, such as Fire Departments and Law Enforcement agencies utilize the same structures which allows for seamless integration and common terminology for communication in time of crisis.

5. Do results from testing or real-life incidents lead to revisions in risk assessments or business continuity plans?  

In today’s ever-changing environment, organizations must be prepared to deal with an increasingly complex set of challenges that test our normal approaches to disaster and emergency preparedness.  To ensure business sustainability, embrace an environment of continuous improvement.

For more information on how to implement an all-hazards planning approach to ensure your organization is prepared for an emergency, please contact Frank Banda, CPA, CFE, CGMA, PMP, Managing Partner- Public Sector, CohnReznick, 301.280.1856 or at [email protected] Or, contact Eddie Velez, Senior Manager, CohnReznick at 512.822.7939 or at [email protected]

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