September is National Preparedness Month. Organizations like utility companies, local governments and municipalities, and businesses large and small can benefit from conducting a full review of their emergency response plans.
Disasters of any size can impact operations and affect service to customers. Natural disasters to prepare for vary by region, but can include earthquakes, floods, fires and tornadoes. Buildings can also be subject to smaller localized disasters as a result of a gas leak or broken water main.
Emergency Preparedness for Utility Companies
Utility companies provide a service that meets the daily needs of customers. Water, gas and electricity are core components of keeping homes and offices running smoothly. If a disaster disrupts service, it is critical to communicate key information about outages and repairs to customers quickly in order to reduce confusion and threats to public safety.
Emergency alert systems like Swift911™ allow utility companies to instantly send messages to customers via text, phone, email and/or social media so customers are the first to know important details about service issues. National Preparedness Month is a good time to write and review emergency alert message templates. Do they meet the needs of your customers? Do they cover all of the most likely emergency scenarios? Do you have an inbound hotline to share information and alleviate the pressure of responding to an influx of calls?
Emergency Preparedness for Local Governments and Municipalities
Residents and community members look to their local government for information and guidance in times of crisis. It is essential for municipalities to have an emergency communication plan in place. Use National Preparedness Month as a time to create and/or review plans to make sure they continue to meet the needs of your residents.
Important questions to ask each year include:
- Have communications preferences changed in your community (text versus phone call versus email)?
- Are there any language barriers to consider?
- Are there any new technologies being offered that would enhance your emergency response plan?
- Are there opportunities to go beyond emergency preparedness and educate residents throughout the year?
Enterprise Emergency Preparedness - Business Continuity Planning
In the event of a disaster, businesses have a responsibility to keep their employees and customers safe. Providing educational opportunities, safety drills and emergency response kits are important aspects of company safety programs. Business continuity planning is important too. Effective planning can help keep a company up and running before, during and after an emergency. Comprehensive business continuity plans provide key details so that leaders are able to ensure employee safety, protect company assets, secure resources, recover essential activities, minimize disruptions, control costs and reduce any negative impact to clients. National Preparedness Month is a good time to review and update business continuity plans.