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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Pandemic planning for businesses

Posted on 13th March 2020 at 11:01am

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has confirmed the urgency among organisations to review and update their pandemic plans, taking into consideration the three main stages of pre-outbreak preparation and planning, threat assessment and plan activation. Most of the plans have not been exercised, reviewed, or even updated since the H1N1 or MERS coronavirus outbreaks of 2009 and 2012 respectively, writes Laura Zarrillo, Member of the Board of the BCI Italy Chapter.

The review and update processes need the involvement of some departments or areas with the aim to define applicable guidance based on severity levels. We have to keep in mind that planning is essential during any crisis, but pandemics require specific evaluations owing to their potential to affect operations globally for months, striking directly at companies’ most valuable asset: workers.

In addition, crisis management and business continuity management processes should agree on the appropriate response to a pandemic outbreak, keeping in mind that they are not ‘one size fits all’ processes. For this reason, the implementation of best practices, starting with a business continuity risk assessment and together with a business impact analysis, is crucial to formalise adequate recovery strategies for the whole organisation.

Laura Zarillo describes the main views and aspects to be considered for human resources, communications, health and safety, facilities, finance, information and communication technology, operations and supply chain in her paper, Pandemic Planning and Implementation for Business Resiliency, published by the Business Continuity Institute. It also includes activities to perform on a regular basis.

The full paper is available for download here

Image: Pakpong Pongatichat/123rf

 

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