JWA Blog

Now Is The Time For Planning

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


We at JWA Public Affairs have embarked on a crisis action planning initiative which will lead to a Business Continuity Plan or, as we like to call it, a Business Crisis Action Plan. As we move through the process we thought it would be interesting to provide comments and publish updates so you can see how the process works.

We have created a planning template for businesses using a much simplified FEMA process. The phases and steps in our process are:

Phase I - Assess organization current state, processes and risks

  • Research & document organization and key business processes
  • Conduct business impact analysis to determine risks
  • Identify and assess operations critical to survival and recovery
  • Analyze impact of crisis events as well as strategies for minimizing impacts
  • Identify critical business and government partners
  • Explore and identify business opportunities

Phase II - Prepare an executable crisis action operations plan

  • Establish a company crisis action plan
  • As determined by Phase I, prepare emergency response, crisis
  • communication and information technology plans
  • Prepare memorandums of agreement with government emergency
  • management agencies

Phase III - Conduct training and exercises and necessary follow-on requirements

  • Conduct training of employees who are key to the execution of the plan
  • Conduct training of other employees as necessary
  • Prepare and conduct exercises, both table top and field operations
  • Analyze the results of training and exercises, determine and prepare plans
  • for follow-up actions as well as requirements for plan maintenance

Before beginning the actual preparation of the plan, we need to determine who will be on the Crisis Action Planning Committee. The first requirement for planning is to form a committee within the organization which will coordinate and conduct the planning. As we are a small organization we decided that all six employees will be on the CAP Committee and that we will conduct all planning as a full team. This has the advantage of ensuring the entire organization is part of the planning effort and that everyone has a stake in the outcome. However, this option will not be available for most companies due to size and complexity. It will be very important to ensure all facets of a company are represented and we believe that the committee membership could possibly change based upon the information gathered during the first step of the process - Research & document organization and key business processes.

Although not required, we believe having a set of goals or outcomes more specific than just the preparation of a Business Crisis Action Plan is a great place to start. These goals should be kept front and center as you move through the process as it is easy to lose sight of what you set out to do when you get into the complexities of planning. Consequently, we determined that our goals would be:

  • Protect our employees and their families
  • Ensure the survival of JWA Public Affairs after a major disaster
  • Maintain customer service
  • Assist our clients in their response and recovery after a major disaster

Finally, all employees have been given the excellent Jackson County Family Emergency Preparedness Handbook. As we hold our routine planning meetings we plan to discuss our individual efforts and progress in ensuring our families are ready for a crisis. This is a method of ensuring accountability and exchanging ideas for family readiness. It is also recognition that if a business’s employees are not ready then you cannot count on being able to execute your crisis plan.



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