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Tips for crisis management

Impact of a disaster on a businessSixty percent of companies that experience disaster will never open their doors again, says Kit Tuveson, chairman of the International Facility Management Association and worldwide facility operations manager for Hewlett-Packard in San Francisco.

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota revealed that, on average, companies out of business for as little as four and a half days suffer up to a 50 percent loss in operational capacity.

One of the primary steps in devising a crisis management plan is to identify and train key staff qualified to handle disaster situations. These may include a purchasing staff responsible for equipment management, facilities managers who direct moves to alternate locations, human resource representatives who must inform families of injuries and a corporate communications staff that will keep employees, customers and, possibly, the media informed.

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"An untested plan for disaster recovery is just a prayer," Tuveson declares. All back-up plans must be tested, from alternative sites to backup communications systems to an emergency generator. You may have an entire facility dedicated to recovery relief, but if the backup generator doesn't work, you've wasted your time, money, and effort."

10-step crisis management plan

1. Obtain upper-management support for personnel, resources, and a disaster relief budget.

2. Assign a recovery team representing every department.
3. Identify potential risks and hazards.
4. Identify preparations that are already in place, then improve or expand upon them.
5. Pinpoint business goals and objectives, being careful to identify those which most affect the bottom line.
6. Develop emergency response and recovery plan procedures.
7. Publish an organizational flowchart detailing who is responsible for what.
8. Conduct training and stock supplies.
9. Reduce risks and hazards with periodic inspections and defensive engineering, such as earthquake bolts.
10. Conduct periodic drills and exercises to both acclimate employees and identify potential holes in the relief plan.
Source: International Facility Management Association

Kara Stefan is a freelance writer based in Virginia
To comment on this story, please e-mail the Bankrate.com editors

-- Posted: April 24, 2000


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