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Have you ever worked for a company that did or did not have a disaster communication plan? Discuss how that impacted the workplace. Also discuss your thoughts on what plan you would adopt for your business venture.

I currently work for a place that does have a disaster communication plan. This was something that we all just thought about for a brief moment before last year when the hurricane hit our local area. Having a disaster communication plan really helped all of our employees during the hurricane. We have two plants in the bay area and one has about 350 employees and the other about 550 employees. Everyone’s badge has a card with several numbers on it that most employees don’t even pay attention too because we never need them, but this time the employees who were not at work already when decisions were being put into place were able to call the 800 number on their badges and get updates about the plants being open or not and open for what on the hour every hour.

In the event of an emergency there is a designated person that is updating that recorded message every hour of the day and night (because our plants are three shifts so they are almost never closed). Some product lines were safer to continue running then others during different times of the hurricane. Some employees don’t live in an area where it was safe to travel and some do, so the recorded message covered all kinds of information that each employee would be able to know and determine if they needed to come into work. And even if everything for their specific jobs and where they live were okay to actually come into work at that moment they didn’t have to if they didn’t feel safe which is what the message started out with. There were not any attendance penalties during the hurricane time when we were impacted.

If I own my own business one day I will be sure that I make the employees aware that in the event of an emergency the first thing of importance is being safe and feeling safe because an employee at work that is worried about themselves, their families, their homes or whatever, is just an accident waiting to happen. Then I think it is important to have a list of emergency numbers and locations for each type of scenario so that you can give this to your employees so they can be sure they are safe and have access to whatever they need during the disaster.

Internally we need to have a clear action plan, we need to have key leaders in charge of the plan so when it is time to be implemented it can go smoothly. Make sure that the plan covers everything from informing the employees about work, when to return to work, what will take place upon returning, notifying your customer base during the disaster, making sure the business itself is safe with back-up generators and various measures in place so that there is minimal downtime and minimal product loss.

The last thing I think would be important would be to practice the plan. Do a mock run, just like a fake fire drill, so that you can see if there are any holes or flaws in the plan that need fixed or improved.”