Chamber speaker provides emergency management advice
If a natural disaster destroyed Basehor’s business community, would the city be able to sustain itself?
This is the question Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha asked the Basehor Chamber of Commerce at its April 16 meeting.
Magaha, also president of the Kansas Emergency Management Association, came to the meeting to provide information on business emergency preparation.
Emergencies don’t arise solely from storms, Magaha said.
“You have to also consider information technology malfunction, disgruntled employees, pandemics and so on,” Magaha said. “People forget the effect a computer crash can have on a business.”
To prepare for such situations, Magaha said every business and its departments should create a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
Under the COOP, each department should identify its essential functions.
“Make a list of every departmental function and decide which ones you absolutely need,” Magaha said. “These are the functions that still need to happen during an emergency.”
Next, the department should organize an order or succession among department heads. This succession should be in line with the decided essential functions.
“Who is vital to the company’s functions, and who will take over if that person is gone?” Magaha asked.
Departments should also indicate an alternate facility where the company could continue business if its building were destroyed or inhabitable.
Magaha said each department of a company needed to decide which equipment was necessary and figure out a way to obtain it if the company equipment was not available. Magaha suggested listing area businesses with similar equipment which might be borrowed. It’s also important to have contact information for all vendors the company uses.
Magaha said it was extremely important to communicate the COOP with staff and to provide periodic training.
Magaha said every business should have a form of emergency preparation.
“There’s a lot out there in the real world that could affect your company,” he said. “Don’t get so wrapped up in yourself that you’re not prepared for those situations.”
For more information, go to fema.gov, and type in the keyword “COOP.”
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