Natural and man-made disasters put a spotlight on businesses ill-equipped and ill-prepared to handle disruptions. Business owners and Facilities Managers often look at the coastal-only risks, but disasters can include earthquakes, floods, droughts, tsunamis, tornadoes, and outbreaks of food-borne illness, reports Kimberly Amadeo of the Balance. Disasters have a terrible impact on the economy, costing more than $1 trillion in disruptions in 2017, forcing the cost of necessities, like food and gas, to rise and having the potential to slow economic growth for decades. Businesses need to reevaluate their understanding of disruption costs and how emergency services facilities management can help.
Why Do Businesses Underestimate the Costs of Emergency Services Facilities Management?
When an emergency occurs, Facilities Managers and business may only view the immediate, direct impact. For example, strong winds during the hurricane and floodwaters may result in extensive water damage, loss of power, and damaged inventory. Unfortunately, indirect effects are often overlooked. Indirect effects, like decreased consumer purchasing power resulting from lost wages and even lost businesses. Even if a business recovers quickly, rebuilding the customer base can take years, asserts Alana Semuels of the Atlantic. The effects may continue to worsen for businesses that have not prepared or implemented an effective emergency services facilities management program.
Implement an Emergency Services Facilities Management Program
Not all emergency services facilities management programs are created equally. By its definition, an emergency services program handles the day-to-day operations in the aftermath of an emergency. However, a truly effective program will help a business return to its ranking in the economy. This includes providing continued support after a disaster strikes to ensure occupants’ needs are met. In addition, business owners should consider purchasing business interruption insurance, especially those located in areas prone to extreme weather, explains HowMuch.net, which can help with the financial expenses of a temporary relocation, lost profits and commissions, training costs for employees, and other costs. Like any type of insurance, your business may be able to lower premiums by developing an effective emergency services facilities management program.
An effective program helps your business realize cost savings by addressing the whole disaster and enhancing business continuity. Some of the integral components of an effective program include:
- Assess the Likelihood of Impact for Various Emergencies. Knowing which disasters are more likely to start than others helps an organization find and select the right vendors for disaster recovery.
- Create a Plan for Continuing Operations Following Such Events. An emergency response plan should be documented and used in all emergencies, regardless of size.
- Contract With Vendors to Provide Restorative Services. Contracting with vendors can be a difficult process, so some companies may opt to outsource vendor vetting and selection.
- Conduct Staff Training. Staff members will need to know how to respond in the wake of an emergency, so frequent chaining is key to success.
- Emphasize the Role of Keeping Consumers Safe During Emergencies. Remember the role of consumers affected by disasters. Make sure your plan or program includes provisions to notify consumers of your business state, and if an emergency occurs during open hours, help consumers get to safety first.
- Create a Cheat Sheet With Emergency Services Activation Contact Information. People will forget what to do in an emergency, so a cheat sheet with all contact information for activating the emergency services facilities management program is a great tool to streamline the process.
- Reevaluate Program Effectiveness after All Activations. Each emergency is a learning opportunity, so reevaluate the program for weaknesses and opportunities after each event. This includes holding team members and responders, such as vendors, accountable.
- Complete Payment Processing in a Timely Manner. Vendors may represent workers affected by a disaster as well. Ensure all vendors are paid according to their contracted terms, regardless of your facility’s emergency status.
- Use Preventative Maintenance to Avoid Equipment or System-Related Emergencies. Some emergencies, like fires or water damage caused by an HVAC system failure, can be prevented through adherence to a proactive, preventative maintenance schedule as part of a bundled handyman program.
Partner With QSI Facilities to Simplify Emergency Services Facilities Management Program Creation and Maintenance
Developing an effective emergency services program should not be an overnight process. It takes time, nurturing, and continuous refinement to ensure your program enhances business continuity in the wake of an emergency. As explained by Fortune magazine, a disruption in one business will result in subsequent disruptions to other components, even in areas not affected by a given disaster or emergency. Business owners must begin the process of creating and maintaining an emergency services facilities management program today.
Due to the complexity of creating such a program, some businesses opt to outsource the entire process.