may also be affected and closed or their
shelves may be empty due to disruption in
their supply chain.
Many companies stockpile these
resources at work for their employees to
use if necessary. It is a part of their business continuity plan. This program can be
expanded to include delivery of supplies
to the homes of employees.
One final thing a company can do to
make sure they stay in business following
a disaster is to make sure that those who
can work remotely are set up to do so. This
requires an investment on the part of the
company, often to set up home offices for
employees with computer, network access,
telephones, VPN, etc. But in doing so, the
possibility an employee will be available
for work is increased exponentially.
Obviously nothing a company does will
guarantee any employee will stay at work
or show up for work following a disaster.
However, risk management teaches us that
we can put things in place to increase the
likelihood that that will occur.
By doing some or all of the things
expressed in this article, it will increase
the likelihood of an employee being available when needed.
Also, do not underestimate the goodwill value of this program. In a time when
employees feel unappreciated, putting a
program like this in place will go a long
way towards making employees feel
valued and appreciated. When that occurs
it is more likely that an employee and their
family will feel a bond with the company
that will generate more loyalty to the company.
The family support program should be
viewed by companies as important based
on enlightened self interest. It is in a company’s best interest to make sure every
effort is made to keep employees available
following a regional disaster. A family
support program will help do just that.
Finally, much of the information
required to put together a family support
program can be found on the Internet at
the Red Cross and FEMA websites.
Stuart L. Wagner holds an MBA in technology management and is a Certified
Business Continuity Planner and senior risk
manager in the Southern California region.
Photo courtesy of FEMA
By ADAM PRESTOPNIK
Earlier this year, students in a graduate level disas- ter management course at Elmira College had
the opportunity to speak with Holly
Harrington, special assistant to the
director of the office of public affairs
at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission. The focus of this conversation was not, however, nuclear
power. Rather, students were given
the opportunity to learn, in depth,
about one aspect of Holly’s former
position with the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA); the
creation of FEMA for Kids.
It is understood that anyone can
be affected by a disaster, but children require special attention when
it comes to explaining disasters and
disaster mitigation. In 1996 Holly was
given the task of creating an interactive website, to be used both at home
and in the classroom, the mission
of which was to educate children
about disasters. Although originally
DISASTER RECOVER Y JOURNAL FALL 2009 59