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Putting BCP on Your Holiday To-Do List

By Lisa Smith | Thursday, November 14th, 2013

We all have “to-do lists,” and we all have our own way of managing how and what gets done. Having BCP on my to-do list is easy; this is what I think about every day and all day. But not everyone has the same responsibility. However, business continuity is like health insurance; it needs to be active. We all need it, but it’s not something we think about every day. 

Disruptions can occur at any time and without warning, which is why we should always be thinking about what we need and how we would respond during a disaster. Let’s not forget the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 during the holiday season. Thousands of foreign tourists were in Thailand during that disaster, and many were unaware of the risks within the area, evacuation routes and how to receive assistance.

Chances are, most of us will be traveling at some point during the holiday season or know someone who will. If you’re traveling to someplace new, here are some tips for planning your trip, in addition to packing your suitcase:

  1. Map alternate travel options for arrival and departure from your destination. For instance, if you’re driving, check to see if you can also get there by train, bus or plane. What if the disaster destroys your car or the roads? Or vice versa and there is a train disruption?
  2. If you are staying at a hotel, put together a list of other hotels in the area in case a disaster occurs and impacts the hotel you are staying in.
  3. Create a list of local emergency agencies such as Red Cross, State and Federal Agencies (FEMA, MEMA, etc.). These agencies can be great resources and provide important, useful and up-to-date information.
  4. Ensure your personal contact list is current and includes: Your car, house and medical insurance information, employer information, neighbor contact information, etc.
  5. Keep cash in your wallet. If power is impacted during a disaster, you’ll need it for transportation, food, shelter, etc.
  6. Travel with snacks and water. If stores and restaurants are impacted, having a supply of snacks and water on-hand will ensure your basic needs are being met in the critical hours after a disaster occurs.
  7. If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar location, conduct a little research regarding current events that could be occurring in that area. These include transit strikes, political unrest, severe weather issues, etc. All of these things could impact your vacation and how you arrive or depart from your destination.  
  8. Leave emergency contact information with a family member or friend. Communicating how you’re traveling and where you’re staying is important for loved ones to be able to reach out to you if main communication lines are disrupted.

These helpful tips can also be useful in your everyday life. Are there alternate routes for you to get to work? Do you keep snacks and water on-hand in your house or car? Are you aware of what’s going on in your local community? Remember, continuity is comparable to health insurance – it’s something we need in case of an emergency, but it’s not something we think about every day. Getting the ball rolling by thinking about some of these items for you and your family is a great start to a personal contingency plan.

Be sure to do some extra reading on business continuity tips & best practices by checking out these other articles:

Lastly, you can learn a wealth of information on disaster recovery and business continuity planning by reading our free guidebook:

Download our BCP/DR Guidebook

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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