Family Preparedness and Organizational Resiliency

One of the key components of an organization’s emergency plan is the readiness of its team members.

 

Organizational planning efforts spend considerable time and resources in developing and maintaining emergency response and recovery plans for a wide variety of emergencies, but far too often these organizations do not take into account family preparedness efforts and ensuring that their team members are ready at home when the time comes.

 

In 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Maria, several large companies discovered that without significant help from the organization, their employees could not return to work due to a lack of housing, electrical power, medical care, child care, food and water and proper sanitation. In this case, these companies had to organize a considerable effort to assist their employees before they could come back to work and fulfill their critical positions.

 

Certain disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, severe winter storms, public health emergencies and widespread power outages can impact entire regions and can drastically impact the individual members of any organization. When these disasters occur, often there are competing priorities for the employees between supporting their families through a disaster and returning to work to get the organization back to normal operations. This is situation is particularly acute when the impacted organization has an essential role to play within our society and its services must be restored as quickly as possible after a disaster.

 

Organizations that ignore the readiness of their team members at home, run the risk of being severely understaffed in a post disaster environment.

 

So how can organizations enhance the resiliency of their team members at home? The answer is very similar to how any organization prepares for future emergencies through planning, training and testing.

 

Each household should have an emergency plan. This plan should account for each member of the family including extended family members that could need help, family pets, and neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s READY.GOV website is a great resource for team members to begin the planning process. Make A Plan | Ready.gov

 

Organizations can assist team members by encouraging family preparedness plans and to discuss with them on how being prepared at home will keep their families safe and will help the organization recover from a future disaster.

 

Training is critical component in a prepared workforce. Team members need to develop the skills required to implement emergency plans both at home and at work. These fundamental skills include basic first aid, CPR/AED, how to build an emergency kit, how to effectively report an emergency to 911, safeguarding critical documents, and how to communicate to family members during an emergency. Many of these skills will enhance the team’s preparedness both at home and at work.

 

Similar to an effective organizational preparedness program, planning and training is not enough. Team members must practice and test their family preparedness plans. It is essential that every family member understands the plan and their role in it.

 

Without a prepared workforce, any organization is vulnerable to significant outcomes from a future disaster.

 

Meridian is here to help. The experts at Meridian Strategic Services can help your organization develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness program that analyzes your hazards and vulnerabilities and we can help develop and implement strategies that can help mitigate your risk.