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You disaster plan should include insurance, which will protect your equipment, furniture, and office space. Here’s a link to a great list of 6 tools for preparing your law firm for a disaster (and here). In fact over the last year I have seen some messages put out by local Emergency Management Offices around the country change this message to a week or a months worth of water. Though, I have written about this before as a Disaster Tip of the Week as, Is 72 Hours Enough To Prepare For Disaster this message of storing water for emergencies, has still become lost. Basically, the PR campaign for three days worth of water was so effective that people "hear" they only need three days of water and end up not storing any. If you live in a warmer climate, plan on being active, have medical or special needs, you are going to require an increased amount for drinking.
While I took some downtime for my birthday major things were going on in the world that I missed. Though current reports still suggest that the current Ebola Virus is not airborne, it is highly contagious requiring close contact to infected persons, bodies and other objects that have been contaminated with another infected persons bodily fluids. With this being the case – the current Ebola Virus Epidemic IS spreading out of control and unchecked in parts of West Africa.
With this situation remaining unchecked, it will only be a matter of time before he virus spreads to other parts of Africa, the Mid-East, and potentially to Europe and the U.S.
This lack of capacity makes standard containment measures, such as early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, difficult to implement. The recent surge in the number of cases has stretched all capacities to the breaking point.
Diagnostic capacity is especially important as the early symptoms of Ebola virus disease mimic those of many other diseases commonly seen in this region, including malaria, typhoid fever, and Lassa fever. Some treatment facilities are overflowing; all beds are occupied and patients are being turned away.
If controls are not put in place soon (and it may be to late already) - the potential for a global crisis increases rapidly.
The spread of the virus has grown "out of control" and this state will likely remain this way for the next few weeks.
Part of the reason why ebola virus has spread so far so quickly has more to do with the cultural customs and beliefs in the areas where the ebola virus has occurred. Another, as with the American citizen that travelled to Nigeria, after he became infected after his wife died of the disease, is a complete denial that they are infected. Lastly, and perhaps the biggest contributing factor is having infected people "break" quarantine efforts.
Granted, these are not the ONLY factors in why the ebola virus is spreading, but do present unique challenges to stem the spread of the disease further.
As you probably know by now, this is the worst Ebola virus outbreak in history, and is also the first outbreak to occur in West Africa.
I recently wrote another article about Ebola Virus Facts and Information on my corporate blog.
Since then the CDC has also shared an Ebola Virus Infographic that is good to have a look at. According to the study, Massachusetts is the safest State to live and New Hampshire comes in at number two.
The study used the following safety factors to determine the relative overall safety of each state.
This is a topic of great debate, and is the chicken or the egg question for contingency planners everywhere.
Interestingly enough, I just had a conversation with a colleague, whom I respect, and that works for another large company that provides business continuity and disaster recovery services, on this very topic. With the creation of the ISO 22301, which does not specifically address the order, but does mention BIA’s first, many businesses are now conducting the BIA first. I just want to mention here that there are many methods of scoring the actual measurement to achieve, or arrive at a final hazard score. I use a slightly modified version of the NFPA 1600 model that I developed over the years, but it is generally the same idea. This process allows us to have a high-level overview of what the greatest risks are to the business, and what the potential impact will be. Once we arrive here, it is time to take a deep dive into the impact the top threats will have on your business. During the deep dive into the Business Impact Analysis you will look at each individual process, individuals and applications that support each process, the interdependencies between departments and each process has upon each other, the financial impact to the business if this process is disrupted, additional financial impact of fines, penalties, SLA’s, and contractual agreements. The Business Impact Analysis gets into such fine details of each business process and business unit that it can itself become a disruption. The Risk Assessment, being such a high-level overview can be done monthly, quarterly, or even yearly, with little to no disruption to the businesses normal operations. I hope with this you can see where I am coming from, and why a risk assessment should be done both first, and more frequently.
The NFPA 1600 Section number 5.3 on Risk Assessments also provides an ordered list of steps that includes identifying hazards, Assess the vulnerability, Analyze the potential impact, and then lastly to conduct a Business Impact Analysis to determine business continuity and recovery strategies. I am a big believer in knowing your risks and conducting risk assessments on a regular basis. Also, risk assessments should be tied into your enerprise risk management if you have one and should have controls established for reductions or prevention of risks when possible.
This emergency preparedness checklist will help you to get ready against a sudden emergency beforehand, as when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Preparation for the air vacation is actually the beginning of the trip, because when you start planning, it gives you a thrill of anticipation.


In order to increase level of your preparedness you should fully study each of possible disasters – where they come from, what are their main traits, why they are so dangerous, what kinds of accidents create the highest mortality rate during each of these emergencies, what you can do in order of getting specifically prepared, etc. Consider different places where you or your family members can be at when emergencies could happen (at school, at home, at work, etc).
Develop an escape or action plan coordinated with the emergency plans accepted at places where you or your family members could be. Take some trainings to know how to remedy the most usual types of injuries (disinfection and treatment of wounds, bandaging, etc). Demonstrate to your family members how they can turn off the water, gas and electricity at your home (with a help of main switches) when it could be necessary.
Provide your trusted neighbors with spare keys to your home; show them where they can turn off your utilities and give them a list of contact phone numbers. Create a list of essential family information (names and ages of your children, their chronic illness and disorders, contact numbers, etc), and contact information necessary for your healthcare providers. Store up Emergency kit including usual first aid package along with some specific medicines which can be required by your family members. Supplies include flashlight with extra batteries, battery-operated radio, unbreakable bottles with clear water, credit cards and cash, change of clothes, rain gear, sturdy shoes, blanket or sleeping bag, candles and lighter (water proof), walkie-talkie set, any other necessities needed (especially for babies, elderly or disabled family members).
Store up some sanitation supplies: disinfectant crystals, all-purpose liquid soap, tooth brush and paste, feminine hygiene items, disinfectants, etc. Ensure that family records, documents, extra set of car keys and other things like these are kept in a water- and fire-proof container. When constructing your house or some auxiliary buildings on your land – make sure that they are constructed observing basics of anti-emergency projecting (for example, using anti-flood architectural techniques).
Ensure that interior of your home meets elementary anti-emergency requirements – flammable products are stored away from potential heat sources, heavy objects are placed on lower shelves, electricity wiring is safe, etc.
Ensure that all emergency supplies and items (such as flashlight) are within an easy reach. You can find more detailed instructions regarding different specific kinds of emergencies in our Safety Checklists section.
Disasters can take many forms and the severity of impact on the business can vary from power outages that disrupt operations for a short period of time to total destruction of your operations – including all your vital data that is not stored offsite. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of relegating emergency preparations to a specialized department, so your planning must be scaled accordingly.
If City of Alexandria businesses have suffered the impacts of a disaster or are experiencing economic downturn, Alexandria SBDC will help connect you to Business Recovery resources. In the previous articles in this series, we discussed risk assessment, the importance of establishing what risks and threats your business faces, how some of them can be prevented or avoided and how you should formulate and use an emergency plan.
Surviving an emergency is only the first stage though, if your business is to continue in the long-term, you need to ensure that disaster recovery and business continuity are a high priority, from the moment that you become aware of a disaster, whether imminent or already taking place. Post-incident disaster recovery is an essential element in mitigating the effects of specific incidents, ensuring that operations are resumed as quickly as possible and before any secondary damage (to client lists or reputation) is incurred.
Again, this should be an ongoing procedure, detailed in your emergency plan and with post-test and post-incident reviews feeding into improving the plan. How do you maintain production or service provision if your main business location is out of action? The emergency plan should make clear what sort of down-time is acceptable before temporary measures are introduced, and how these are escalated.
Particularly if there is going to be any lengthy disruption to your business, ensure that you keep your customers, suppliers, staff and contractors informed.
To read the first article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning: Identifying the Key Stages of your Disaster Recovery Plan.
With cloud computing services and cloud storage, there is no excuse for not having adequate data backup methods.
Many law firms and insurance companies offer help to members in creating their disaster plans. Thinking they can get by for three days or it is such a small amount they really do not need it. One of these events surrounds some major developments regarding the containment of Ebloa or the lack there of. The most significant development that came to light on August 11, 2014 is that WHO Confirms that patients in fact ARE being turned away from overflowing and taxed medical facilities. Though no vaccine and no proven curative treatment exist, implementation of these measures has successfully brought previous Ebola outbreaks under control.
Global Government agencies such as the CDC and NGO's alike are responding to stem the spread of the ebola virus. With an incubation period lasting as long as 21 days, some people are in denial they have become infected.
As with many other places in the world, people have customs and rituals dealing with the treatment of the dead. They either leave, or as in some cases have family members "break" them out of the facility. This may also be considered another potential contributing factor in that the ebola virus had not directly occurred in this region of Africa in the past.
Overall the entire North-East of the United States is pretty safe overall based on this study.
Financial Safety of the State, Driving Safety Rank, Workplace safety, Natural Disaster Rank, and finally, Home and Community Safety. Recently, I was asked to share an infographic that placed the Business Impact Analysis before the Risk Assessment.
I have a great many reasons for doing it in this way, but let me share just a snippet of why we do it this way. For instance the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600 utilizes a method of scoring of High (H), Medium (M), Low (L) for probability of occurrence and the same H, M, L for impact.
Once we look at all the potential known hazards we take the top 10, top 5, and top 3 hazards respectively to know which hazards are the biggest known threats to the business.


It also provides us a potential outline of events that are likely to cause major disruptions to the business.
Also, as a big proponent of the NFPA 1600 standard, if you have the book, Implementing NFPA 1600 National Preparedness Standard, turning to page 12, and page 19 respectively provides an ordered list where the Risk Assessment comes before the Business Impact Analysis.
Performing a BIA with just an overal organizational risk or operational risk falls short of a complete and proper risk assessment. Well, not just disasters really, but to help people like you, owners, executives and managers of businesses prepare for disasters and emergencies.
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If you want to learn basic ways of protecting yourself and your family against emergencies by planning ahead, then this list is a right document to read.
Check with your local Red Cross and authorities to learn disaster preparation guidelines provided by them. Define and agree with your family what you should do in cases of different emergency situations. Agree a place(s) outside of the home where family members can meet in a case of certain emergency (agree several options for different cases). Consider the cases when it is necessary in order of preparing your house against emergencies. Whether you are just starting a business, managing an existing business, or looking to grow your company, you can find important information organized by stage of growth. The ability of a business to get back up and running after disaster strikes is much easier if steps are taken before the disaster to prepare for such a possibility. With that in mind, Alexandria Small Business Development Center and Dominion have identified the most effective and practical guidelines to be those of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the SBA Small Business Disaster Preparedness Guide found here. Can you arrange alternative supplies or production facilities, or can key activities be conducted by staff working from home? For example, disruption of manufacturing, lectures or the sales team of up to 24 hours may be acceptable, but for any longer, you will need to consider relocating the activity.
In an emergency, people will pull together, and a customer who understands the nature of the disaster that you suffered and is being kept informed on the supply situation is more likely to remain a customer than one who has no idea what is happening or when supply might resume. You not only have to marshal your staff and other resources, but you need to keep everyone informed if you are to retain their trust and business.
To read the 2nd article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 2: Risk Assessment. Clio, a cloud-based law practice management provider, is hosting a disaster preparedness webinar. Over the years however a massive campaign was launched to get ALL Americans to have At Least three days of water stored for emergencies. The outbreak continues to outstrip diagnostic capacity, delaying the confirmation or exclusion of cases and impeding contact tracing.
Though, several agencies are reporting that the current ebola virus is spreading beyond current efforts to contain it.
In this case, some family members clean the body for burial without the use of proper protective clothing. These factors then provide an overall rating of each State giving us the safest and least safest States to live in based on the study. This provides you with some system of measurement on how great the risk to your business the hazard will be. This provides a score, such as, ML which would be equal to Medium probability of Occurrence with a Low impact. Increase productivity of your small business or office by better organizing your employees' tasks and time. This checklist gives you a number of tips and recommendations on supplies you need to store up and steps you need to take. Be ready that in a case of really serious disaster telephone landlines (as well as your cell phone) can become just disabled. Perhaps you would like to browse our listing of topics by industry to identify resources that are relevant to your business.
How long will particular locations be out of action, what can be salvaged and relocated to a temporary work site etc.?
To read the 3rd article in this series, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 3: Continuity Planning.
If I am not mistaken, it is also proper practice to burn everything, including the dead that are infected with ebola. You can also find important information listed by area of need, which covers a variety of topics on which business owners frequently have questions. All these need to be considered and you need to think about emergencies not only affecting you directly, but also your suppliers, shippers or customers.
To read the 4th article, go to Emergency Preparedness Planning 4: Disaster prevention and avoidance.
Even a simple water break, roof leak, or break-in, could have catastrophic effects on your own law practice. You’ll need to register online for the event, but this should be a great way to get started. Last, but certainly not least, explore our list of partner programs to find other resources that may assist you in your endeavors.
You may be well protected against a blizzard, but will your students still be able to get through, can you still get your products out, or if you are in the power industry, can you cope with the increased demand for heating etc.? I hesitated signing up for another marketing gimmick, but after the recent tornadoes, I’m attending.



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