Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a program day at Leadership Fairfax on “Engaging the Community Arround Emergency Management.” The session itself was lively with presenters and panelists from the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, the Red Cross and Reston Interfaith. At the heart of the day was the question-are we as residents and business owners and non-profits, etc. ready for the next emergency, whether man-made or natural disaster?
As a marketing research company, my company is generally working in the field 24/7. That constant need for uptime is one of the reasons we’ve been successful operating as a company that has virtual employees, employees who work out of their home, but are located in different parts of the country. When one area gets knocked in the knees by some sort of natural disaster, we’re able to keep on running. However, not all companies have that luxury.
Dave McKernan, of the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, discussed yesterday, it’s critical for a business to be able to prioritize what work still needs to get done in a crisis so that the business will still be around a month from now and what work can be relegated to a time when things are more stable. Often, like employees who live on an hourly income and live from paycheck-to-paycheck, downtime during a disaster can be catastrophic to finances and survival. Having a continuity plan in place ahead of time is key–the system can protect the business at a time when some employees, and even leaders, are more focused (and understandably so!) on personal needs.
For those business colleagues of mine who are located in Fairfax County, I recommend signing up for the Fairfax County Community Emergency Alert Network, and if you’re in Virginia, downloading the Virginia Ready app for your smartphone. These two digital tools can help keep you informed and even help you document your preparedness plan. So since we all survived the end of the Mayan Calendar in 2012, considering making sure your emergency preparedness plan (business and personal) are current and up-to-date!