An excellent essay on what goes into successful crisis/disaster planning appears in the June issue of Security Management. William M. Lokey, a program director for James Lee Witt Associates, Washington, D.C., lays out the components and commitments required for reliable disaster readiness.
In the context of Hurricane Katrina, Lokey asks, “Why were some companies unprepared to provide the most basic necessities for their employees while others not only survived the catastrophe but also excelled at helping others? There’s a simple answer: Some companies devote resources to planning, training, and conducting disaster response and recovery drills—and some do not.”
That’s the key: having a written, practiced plan. Based on his own extensive experience, Lokey provides guidance on developing one, including its media relations aspects.
“A disaster plan is a set of promises that a company makes,” he says at the conclusion of the piece. “They spell out how a company intends to behave when tragedy strikes. More than a document, a disaster plan is a process that is designed to evoke appropriate actions by anticipating problems and creating possible solutions. By being aware of common problems from past incidents, companies can help to ensure that staff will be ready to meet those promises and, in the process, to give aid and comfort to the affected community.”