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Study: Ten things that any emergency preparedness/business continuity plan should include

Aug. 14, 2014


The study found that one in five organizations lacks
an emergency preparedness/business continuity plan

IFMA and RLE Technologies have released a report on facility management perspectives on emergency preparedness and business continuity in North America. The report, “High Stakes Business: People, Property and Services,” which draws on data gathered at multiple IFMA Emergency Planning and Business Continuity research forums and the IFMA 2014 Business Continuity Survey, makes a strong business case for the importance of practicing emergency preparedness/business continuity planning and provides a step-by-step guide to do so effectively.

The full IFMA/RLE Technologies report, available online here, found that nearly one in five (19 percent) of surveyed organizations did not have an up-to-date emergency preparedness/business continuity plan. This figure is only more shocking considering the catastrophically high cost that unforeseen emergencies can incur — including the possibility of total business failure. The study suggests that the 81 percent of organizations with an up-to-date plan are “not only able to handle identified risks, but they are also more resilient when recovering from unplanned events.”

“Emergency preparedness and business continuity is an organization’s lifeline,” said Mark Sekula, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMP, LEED AP and president of Facility Futures Inc. “Without it, a successful company can collapse in a heartbeat.” Sekula moderated the 2014 Research Forum on Emergency Planning and Business Continuity.

The study makes a compelling case for elevating the role of facility management professional as a strategic partner as organizations and facilities gain complexity. For businesses developing or updating their emergency preparedness/business continuity plans, there are 10 areas that must be considered. FM professionals play a significant role throughout this process.

  1. Define roles – Determine who is responsible for the formation and execution of the plan. This is often a role assumed by facility management professionals and/or facility management teams.
  2. Define mission-critical functions – Prioritize functions so you can determine which to dedicate resources to protecting and which to address first in the case of a failure.
  3. Define risks – Assess vulnerabilities, especially to mission-critical functions, and determine their likelihood.
  4. Calculate costs – Estimate the cost of downtime as well as the cost of preparation and planning.
  5. Monitor – Utilize manpower and technology to catch disasters before they occur.
  6. Communicate – Make sure your post-emergency communications plan is resilient.
  7. Test – Ensure the elements of your plan are in good working order.
  8. Practice – When possible, conduct live drills and tabletop exercises.
  9. Adapt and adjust – A plan should be organic, not something you write and file. Make regular adjustments based on testing, practice and changing situations and priorities.
  10. Crowd source – Develop a network of strategic partners and facility management professionals to whom you can go for advice when disaster strikes.

Each of these aspects is explored in much greater detail in the full report complete with survey results which is available online at: http://ifma.org/marketplace/store/product-view/high-stakes-business-people-property-and-services. The price is US$90 for IFMA members and US$180 for non-members.

For over 30 years, RLE Technologies (www.RLETech.com) has delivered reliable, cost effective facility monitoring and leak detection technologies with the sole purpose of preventing disasters, providing peace of mind and preserving our customers’ reputation. Thousands of customers worldwide rely on RLE products to detect environmental threats, notify stakeholders and mitigate risks to their critical sensitive facilities. RLE products are manufactured in the United States.