What to Do When… A Tornado Strikes

On December 25 last year, 34 tornadoes ripped through the South, destroying homes and businesses and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. The harsh weather even created an 8-foot-deep sinkhole in Vicksburg, MS.

While many residents and businesses were caught off-guard by this disaster, we don’t want you to be. To help you prepare for future tornadoes, we’ve put together the following tips to help you and your business weather the storm.

  • If you’re indoors, seek cover underground. Seeking shelter in a basement or cellar is the ideal course of action if a tornado is looming. If you don’t have access to a cellar or basement, move to the center of the lowest floor of the building.
  • If you’re in your vehicle and can’t get to shelter, drive away. Formerly, people were advised to abandon their vehicles and seek shelter in a low ditch. However, now, experts recommend driving out of the storm’s path at a right angle.
  • If you’re caught in the middle of a tornado while in your car, stay put. The latest reports advise you to stay inside your vehicle, strap on your seat belt and leave your engine running so that collision safety features will remain active.
  • Keep your employees informed. Make sure that during a tornado or other disaster, your employees know what to do in order to be safe. You should practice scenarios periodically to avoid confusion in the event of an actual emergency situation.
  • Have a disaster recovery plan in place. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Without a disaster recovery plan in place, your business could be temporarily interrupted or even permanently closed after a tornado. Implement and test a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running smoothly during and after a disaster.

Whether you’re protecting yourself or an entire business, be prepared to survive the storm. For more tornado safety tips, visit ready.gov/tornadoes.

Asteroid DA14 Will Not Hit Earth in 2013

NASA scientists predict that the 150-foot asteroid known as DA14 will not hit Earth. While many are still concerned about its predicted proximity to our planet, scientists have determined that the sun will prevent the asteroid from coming too close to the Earth’s surface and will instead remain 16,700 miles away when it passes by in February 2013.

Whether it’s an asteroid, a category 5 hurricane or a power outage, a disaster can put your business out of commission. Be prepared. Put a disaster recovery plan in place so that your business can survive any disruption (even one from space).

Creating a Disaster Recovery Testing Schedule for the New Year

Taking steps to create a disaster recovery (DR) plan for your business is a great start to minimizing financial loss and threats to your company’s survival in the event of a business interruption. However, if you create your plan and leave it on the shelf, it’s just as bad as not making one at all. If it’s going to be an effective tool for your business it must be tested, adapted and reviewed.

Your DR plan should include the actions to be taken before, during and after a disturbance to minimize the disruption of critical functions, recover operations successfully and provide a sense of security for your employees. To help you begin this, at times, daunting task, we have compiled the important elements that your DR plan should include.

The Commitment of Top Management

Top management must be involved in the planning process, because they will be able to provide the time and financial resources necessary to help the DR plan be effective within your organization.

An Established Planning Committee

Considering all the aspects of recovery after a disaster is necessary, so representatives from each department of the company should be included in your DR planning committee to oversee the plan’s development and implementation.

A Risk Assessment

Once the DR planning committee is established, it should perform a risk assessment. The assessment should include a range of disaster scenarios, such as inaccessibility of data, loss of communications, an uninhabitable facility, etc. After developing scenarios and determining how they affect each department in the company, assess the associated costs.

Ranked Departmental Priorities

Each department must maintain different critical functions to remain operational after a disturbance. Identify what these critical functions are and rank them as essential, important or optional priorities.

Recovery Strategies

Your business’s recovery strategy should reflect its individual recovery requirements. The first decision to make is whether or not backup resources, such as equipment and a secondary facility, will be provided in-house or by a third party.

While in-house recovery strategies give the planner more control over their specifications, it can be expensive to keep up with maintenance, depreciation and replacement costs. Contracting a third-party provider can help you save on the overall expense of purchasing and maintaining a backup facility and equipment.

Testing Schedule

Test and evaluate your DR plan regularly to identify problem areas that need revision, address missing recovery steps and prepare your staff before a disaster occurs. If your staff has already walked through a disaster scenario, they will know what to expect when a real disaster occurs, making your business’s recovery a smoother operation.

DR planning should address all of the aforementioned criteria to help you prepare for a disaster so your business can continue to function and serve customers.

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