Six years ago Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island in the early hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008.  When the storm subsided, 2.15 million of the 2.26 million CenterPoint customers were without electricity and the greater Houston area came to a standstill.  Whole neighborhoods were dark, businesses across the area were closed, and hundreds of windows in office towers were blown out.  CenterPoint attacked the downed power lines with 5,000 tree trimmers followed closely with more than 7,000 linemen.  At the end of day 18, CenterPoint concluded their emergency operations.  If you lived in Houston and the surrounding area during Hurricane Ike, no doubt you have a survival story of your own. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike companies put their Disaster Recovery Plans to the test.  Companies without a plan vowed to put one together.  And so Disaster Recovery Planning became the hottest topic in years.  The impact of a natural or human-caused disaster on businesses is far-reaching.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster – either natural of human-caused – never reopen. 

Is your Disaster Recovery Plan in a binder on the shelf gathering dust?  Possibly you haven’t even written one – yet.  We would like to suggest that right now is a great time to move forward with your plan before the next disaster hits. 

Ready Business - a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters – is an amazing source for tools to create a plan addressing the impact of many hazards. Read more... 

Developing a Preparedness Program Steps

Program Management.  Organize, develop and administer your program.  Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program.

Planning.  Gather information about hazards and assess risks.  Conduct a business impact analysis.  Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks.

Implementation.  Write a preparedness plan addressing: resource management, emergency response, crisis communications, business continuity, information technology, employee assistance, incident management, and training. 

Testing and Exercises.  Test and evaluate your plan, define types of exercises, learn how to conduct exercises, use results to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness.

Program Improvement.  Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed, discover methods to evaluate the program, use the review to make necessary changes.

Need some help creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?  Check out the Business Continuity Suite developed by the DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and FEMA.  The software will help you create, improve, or update your BCP.  The Suite consists of a BCP training, Disaster Recovery Plan (DRC) generators, and self-directed exercises for testing an implemented BCP.  To download the BCP Suite click here.

Testing and Exercising Your Current Program

Now would be a great time to take you Disaster Recovery Plan out for a test drive.  You have several choices for putting your plan through a drill.

Walkthroughs, workshops, or orientation seminars.  All three are basic training for your team members.  They are designed to familiarize your team with emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans along with their roles and responsibilities as described in the plans.

Group Discussions.  In an informal session, the tams discusses their roles during an emergency and their responses to a specific situation.  Facilitator guided discussions of scenarios allows team members to be a part of the planning process. 

Functional Exercises.  Designed to exercise specific team members, procedures, and/or resources, functional exercises are scenario driven.  For example a critical business function failure or a hazard situation.

Following any of the above exercises, a debriefing of team members and leadership provides additional information on improving the plan.

At Dean & Draper we welcome the opportunity to discuss your Disaster Recovery Plan and support you with the insurance you need to recover from natural or man-made disasters.  Contact Us. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choise insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies.  For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.