The arrival of the Ebola virus to U.S. shores has revealed a number of chinks in the armor of disease control preparedness. While the epidemic was raging in West Africa, Americans generally gave it little thought, nursing only vague fears that the virus would hop the Atlantic Ocean and find new hosts here. But when it did, we found ourselves unprepared at almost every level.
A phenomenon like Ebola (or the Spanish flu of a century ago, or the bird flu, or the regular flu season) is not just a public health issue; it is also a security issue and a business continuity issue.
What happens to an organization in the short term when half of its employees stay home sick? What happens if employees bring their contagion to work and infect more employees? Who is going to guard your assets if your entire security staff is ill? How do you mitigate the long-term damage of having your business effectively put out of commission until the illness passes?
Do you have a plan in place to mitigate the damage of a pandemic to your organization?
A Unique Security Challenge
Sunstates works with a number of large, faith-based organizations in Dallas, where the first U.S. cases of Ebola occurred. Such organizations have unique security risks, in that their open-door policies and large gatherings could put thousands at risk if an infected individual sought solace there.
Sunstates recognized the potential catastrophe and, having done extensive research already, offered swift guidance for pandemic response to Dallas clients. Sharing this information provided tremendous peace of mind and allowed for adaptation to their own business continuity plans.
Glenn Burrell, President of Sunstates Security, says, “Business continuity comes from having the ability to backfill personnel if they are taken out of action.” For instance, one of the ways Sunstates handles this is with the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT). These specially trained and equipped team members are ready for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice to fill such personnel gaps and provide security.
The keys to maintaining continuity in your business in the event of a pandemic or other emergency include the following:
· Cross-training personnel
· Resource depth to bring in additional personnel, as needed
· Top-down commitment to the business continuity process
· Regular re-evaluation of procedures, modifying as necessary in the face of changing circumstances
· Live and tabletop drills simulating emergency situations
Sunstates Security has been helping clients create customized emergency and business continuity plans since 1998, including pandemic contingencies. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.