Many organizations do not take Business Continuity Management (BCM) seriously. Some that do spend a huge amount of resources on consultants to undertake such planning, the purpose of which is to help map out the risks that organizations face on a day-to-day basis and to use the conventional four-stage strategy of avoidance, prevention, mitigation and recovery, to manage the threats that they have identified from the BCM study. It is a pity that very few amongst them actually progress to developing comprehensive ER plans from the BCM study to effectively protect the organization from any resulting crises and emergencies.
Risks of different form and dimension are present in all organizations. Risks are also not static but mutate in response to the changing environment that the organization operates in. One thing is for sure that if an organization gets blindsided by the ever-changing risks, the risks may return to create anything from a minor disruption to operations to the total collapse of the organization.
An ER system in conjunction with an ER plan is essential to help an organization to monitor the threats with the help of a combination of means – AI, sensors, cameras and humans. Thresholds are set for each threat, which when crossed with cause the identified decision-maker to be alerted, who will then activate a pre-arranged response. In a nutshell, while a BCM study helps to identify the risks that an organization faces, an ER system when activated promptly serves precisely to protect the organization from the threats (risks) that it has identified.
A typical approach to the development of an ER system for an organization will encompass the following components and steps:
- Conduct of a BCM study
- Identifying the threats of significance from the BCM study
- Developing an ER Plan
- Establishing an ER System comprising the following components:
- Creating an emergency management and command structure
- Creating a threat surveillance and alert system
- Creating an emergency communications system
- Creating an emergency tactical response force
- Creating a recovery force
- Conduct of full-scale exercises and component drills
- Conduct of customised training to the specific groups
- Audit of ER Plan and ER System
INSPIRO Fire & Crisis Pte Ltd is a fire, emergency and crisis consultancy firm incorporated in Singapore.