Natural disasters cause billions each year in property damage, and while disasters themselves often strike with little to no warning, planning can mitigate risk and get facilities back into operation more quickly.
The difficulty is that most plan rooms are dependent on paper records, which are typically either disorganized, incomplete, out of date, or a combination of all of the above. This makes it extremely difficult for facility managers to coordinate disaster recovery efforts, since they waste huge amounts of time digging through plans and paperwork to find necessary documents. And if the paper records are damaged or destroyed from the disaster, recovery may be significantly delayed or even impossible.
Disaster planning is made much more efficient with digitally-kept records, and smart building systems such as SmartCSM’s cloud-based software for building infrastructure management offer a solution for facility managers. A digital plan room allows records to be accessed anywhere, on any device. Additionally, SmartCSM’s smart building software supports in-depth building infrastructure and systems monitoring and alerts, identifying damage and functionality issues. FMs can build a disaster plan that will help them identify infrastructure damage and other business disruptions when disaster strikes.
With building data securely stored on the cloud, FMs can follow these steps to create a disaster response plan:
- Create a living document for your disaster plan, which will be reviewed and updated at least once annually to address seasonal changes or new threats or risks.
- Set steps for backing up utilities and data, procedures for internal and external communications, and include information about mutual aid, disaster recovery services you may want to apply for, and backup facilities if your primary building is unavailable immediately after a disaster.
- In addition to storing important documents such as insurance policies on the cloud in your digital records, you should have paper copies stored in a safe and accessible location that is documented.
- Maintain call lists with contact information for key personnel so that your response teams can reach them after hours, and set a procedure for notifying the workforce if a building is closed due to damage from disaster.
- Store emergency supplies such as fuel/generators, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, and patching materials in a known location for rapid disaster response by on-site teams. Stockpile water and food for any personnel that would stay on-site during or immediately following a disaster.
Finally, always test your disaster plan with drills and analysis to be sure it’s sufficient and aligns with your current operations. Review your plan annually at the very least, although a seasonal review and update is ideal.