I’m a list maker. My sister is not. Going on vacation together illustrates this difference well. Before my trip, I sit down and make three checklists: items I need to purchase for the trip, tasks I need to complete before the trip, and things to pack. My sister wings it, throwing clothes in her suitcase the day before. Consequently, she ends up asking to borrow or share what I have. But because I haven’t packed for two, or don’t have what she needs specifically, we inevitably waste time tracking down what she is lacking.
But having everything you need for a trip is nowhere near as vital as has having all you need for effective business continuity (BC) and emergency plans and responses. For these, checklists can mean the difference between controlled mitigations and catastrophic outcomes.
Fun Fact: The U.S. Army first introduced preflight checklists during WWII after a pilot crashed during a test flight. They are still required by the FAA today.
Just imagine: It’s 10am and everyone is in the office…when an earthquake or some other disaster strikes. In the aftermath, you realize three of your employees suffered life-threatening injuries. Though you believe police and rescue will, at some time, sweep your area looking for injured, you need to let them know the mortal condition of your staff requires immediate attention. But the 911 call system is down. In all your careful planning, you never considered acquiring direct emergency responder dispatch numbers in the event of 911 failure.
This is just one scenario where a checklist would have benefited you greatly. But how can you ensure that your checklist contains the right items and know when it’s complete? You can begin with viewing checklists developed by planning and emergency response experts: FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Established in 1979, FEMA not only aids those in need in the wake of disaster, but also works to support citizens and organizations to “prepare, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters.”
In order to help drive your enterprise towards greater resiliency, we’ve compiled a top-10 list of FEMA’s most helpful BC and emergency response-relevant checklists and guides.
FEMA BC and Emergency Checklists
- Emergency Management, BC, & Crisis Management Self-Assessment Checklist
A questionnaire to help determine your organization’s preparedness using the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 1600® Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Program 2016 edition
- Emergency Response Plan Worksheet & Checklist
Aid and lists for emergency response, such as shelter, evacuation, and medical, fire planning
- Emergency Response Resource Requirements
Identify and list resources necessary during an emergency
- Emergency Supplies Checklist
Recommended emergency supplies for your business to store in the event of a disaster
- Crisis Communications Plan Guide
A guide to crisis communication plans and proposed list for communication groups
- Computer Hardware Inventory List
List your hardware specs, serial numbers, and purchase/repair information
- Business Continuity Plan Worksheet & Checklist
Compare your plan to FEMA’s checklist to ensure your plan is complete
- Business Continuity Resources Checklist
Identify and list resources necessary to maintain and restore vital business functions
- Risk Assessment Table
Guidance for breaking down risk, their probabilities, mitigations, and assets or operations at risk
- Business Impact Analysis Worksheet
Guidance for determining at business-critical services and operations and to what extent an interruption would impact them
The most successful emergency responses and BC plans are those that are complete. Don’t ‘wing it’ during a disaster. Get your lists and check them twice. Your business, its reputation and customers are on the line.
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Written by Angie Longacre
As a writer for Assurance Software, Angie devotes her craft to promoting business continuity and disaster recovery awareness, and trumpeting Assurance Software’s invaluable benefits for both. When she’s not commanding the keyboard, you can find her outside for a run, searching for her next antique treasure, or lost in a good book.