Disaster Preparedness – COVID-19 and Beyond

2020 took us all by surprise.  Our world was flipped upside down before we even knew what was happening.  In many ways there was no way for us to prepare for the pandemic, but for those companies that had a Disaster Plan in place, coping with the challenges of the pandemic has been a little more bearable.  What exactly is a Disaster Plan?  How can it help in moments of crisis?  And how can companies create a Disaster Plan?

What is a Disaster Plan?

A disaster is defined as a sudden event that causes great damage.  When something unexpected occurs, the goal of every business owner is to keep their operation moving forward in as normal a fashion as possible.  A Disaster Plan allows the company to do just that while also ensuring the safety and protection, (both physical and economical), of employees.

How does a Disaster Plan help in moments of crisis?

In her article entitled How fleets can succeed during tough times, Jane Clark of Fleet Owner Magazine highlighted one key way a Disaster Plan benefits a company.  An effective Disaster Plan ensures continued communication with customers, vendors and employees.  ‘Being able to connect with these individuals as quickly as possible following a disaster and staying connected for the duration of the event instills confidence that your business is stable and reliable’, says Ms. Clark.

It has been said that by failing to prepare, one is preparing to fail.  Even when a disaster strikes there will still be bills to pay, customers expecting your services and employees who need to feed their families.  Having a Disaster Plan will allow you to continue caring for the needs of your business, as well as your employees.

How to create a Disaster Plan

Expect the unexpected.  Start by thinking about the area where you operate your business as well as the areas your employees travel to on business.  What potential natural or man-made disasters might occur in these areas?  Identifying these potential threats and the type of damage or interruption they could cause to your business operation is a vital first step.  Other key steps include:

  • Review your insurance policies and discuss any concerns with your agent to be sure you’ll be adequately insured.
  • Delegate the implementation of the plan to a reliable employee or manager.
  • Communicate with your customers and vendors regarding their emergency plans.
  • Communicate the plan to your employees, customers and vendors.  Make adjustments as needed.

In the blog post entitled Disaster Planning in the Trucking Industry, Neil Sebring of Godfrey Trucking explains other important factors and details fleet owners should consider when designing a plan.  A thoughtfully designed Disaster Plan is vital to the success and survival of a company during a catastrophic event.  As the country starts to make an upward swing economically, now is an excellent opportunity to begin designing a Disaster Plan if your company did not previously have one, or to identify weaknesses in your company’s plan and how to improve.  We can never be certain when a disaster will strike, but we can be certain that they do and will when we are least expecting it.  As Ms. Clark bluntly stated at the end of her article, ‘Plan to be prepared.’