An emergency action plan addresses how you will save life and property during an emergency or disaster. A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) addresses how you will stay in business after the life threatening portion is over. Have you considered how you will operate if a quarter of your work force is off sick or caring for sick family members; what if half of your work force was off? Where will you get services or supplies if your regular vendors are unavailable? Where will you work form if your primary location is damaged or unavailable? How do you work if you computer system is down? A COOP answers these questions and many more. It will help lesson the effects of a disaster on your business; or at least help you get back into business as quickly as possible.
A COOP should include the following tailored to your business’s specific needs:
- Line of succession – who’s in charge when key people are absent
- Emergency contact numbers – for help and supplies
- List of all employee’s home phone numbers and emergency contacts
- Alternate work locations – sites that can support your needs
- List of supplies that are essential for your business – documents, equipment, etc.
- Vendor contacts and phone numbers
- List of alternate vendors – if your regular vendors are unable to meet your needs (they may be affected too)
- Prioritized list of essential business functions – if you are lacking personnel, equipment, etc. what functions are critical to keep you running
- List of essential documents and back up contingencies – and make sure the right people know
Having a COOP plan is good, educating your employees on the plan and ensuring that everyone has access to it during an emergency is great. The best thought out plan means nothing if no one knows what it is.
Continuing to conduct your normal business during, or as soon as possible after, a disaster will ensure your continued success. You are a valuable part of the Kansas City, Missouri community and your business is important. Taking the time now to prepare a COOP can save you time, money and frustration later and ensure that your business survives the next disaster.
To get free help developing a COOP visit the following websites: