Materials and Supplies
Preparedness programs can have a variety of goals, depending on what services and functions your business provides. These goals can include:
- Protect the safety of employees, visitors, contractors and others who may be at risk from hazards at the facility
- Maintain customer service by minimizing disruptions of business operations
- Protect facilities, physical assets and electronic information
- Prevent environmental pollution
There are many resources needed to support businesses’ preparedness programs. These resources involve:
Materials and Supplies
Materials and supplies are needed to support members of emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications teams. Food and water are basic provisions. Depending on the business’ role, various types of personal protective equipment are also needed.
Supplies also can include equipment for teams and employees to communicate with each other. These may include:
Spare batteries for portable radios and chargers for smartphones and other communications devices should be available.
Internal resources are the resources that you have within your business and do not come from outside partners. These may include staff who are dedicated to response, business continuity and crisis communications teams, and facilities, systems, equipment and materials that support response and recovery.
Resources that are not available within your organization must be obtained from external resources. These include:
- Public emergency services
- Business partners
An understanding of the availability and capabilities of external resources is needed to make decisions about the preparedness program. How long would it take the fire department to arrive? How do you reach a contractor late at night and how long will it take them to arrive? Determination of the response time and capabilities of external resources will help you identify gaps between what you need and what is available. Strategies should be developed to fill these gaps.
Logistics are an important part of your business’ preparedness program to ensure that resources will be available when and where they are needed.
Compile an inventory of internal and external resources to identify their location, the operating procedures and the persons who can operate these systems. Also, note the estimated delivery or response time of external resources.
A person should be assigned responsibility for logistics and to manage resources to support the preparedness program. They should work with the emergency response and business continuity teams who can identify resource needs.
Employees are needed to staff emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications teams. Employees should be trained so they understand the importance of their assignments and follow established procedures. Some employees may be given the opportunity to learn new skills.
The emergency response team may be limited to employees trained to direct evacuation or sheltering. Some businesses may choose to organize emergency response teams to administer first aid, perform CPR and use automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Others may train staff to use portable fire extinguishers.
Regulations define minimum requirements for training and organizing employees. Staff is needed to develop and manage the business continuity and crisis communication plans. The teams will likely be made up of employees working in their respective departments. Some staff may be assigned to work at alternate worksites if a primary worksite cannot be occupied.
Systems for emergency response may include detection, alarm, warning, communications, suppression and pollution control systems. Protection of critical equipment within a data center may include sensors monitoring heat, humidity and attempts to penetrate computer firewalls.
Every building has exit routes so people can evacuate if there is a hazard within the building. These exit routes should be designed and maintained in accordance with applicable regulations.
Business continuity resources may include spare or redundant systems that serve as a backup in case primary systems fail. Systems for crisis communications may include existing voice and data technology for communicating with customers, employees and others.
Office space and meeting rooms can be used as an emergency operations center (EOC), which is a facility for incident management. The EOC is a place to bring together personnel, gather information, facilitate communications, procure resources and support preparedness, response, continuity and recovery efforts.
Rooms or areas within the interior of a building that are structurally strong can shelter people from a tornado. Unobstructed exits that are marked with signs and equipped with emergency lighting are essential to quickly evacuating people if there is a fire or hazard inside.
Owned buildings at another site may be used as alternate workspace if a building cannot be occupied. This depends upon the location of the building and whether the building would be affected by the same hazard that prevented use of the primary building. The alternate facility may be a viable business recovery strategy if the building can be configured with the required equipment or existing equipment can be configured to need business requirements.
Facilities for emergency response include defined shelter space for protection from a tornado or interior space when “shelter-in-place” from an exterior airborne hazard is required. Facilities should also include a room that can be equipped to serve as an emergency operations center for supporting response to an incident. Other facilities needed include office space or a meeting room with communications equipment to serve as a communications hub.
Facilities for business continuity may include alternate workspace equipped for continuation of business operations. Alternate facilities may be owned or contracted including office space, data center, manufacturing and distribution.