JIS News

The Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is urging businesses to have comprehensive emergency plans in place in the event of disasters.
According to Nadine Newsome, Director of Information and Training at ODPEM, it was imperative that businesses examine every possible hazard and potential disaster and plan for it. “This is whether it is a civil unrest or accidents or disasters. Each can pose a significant threat to your business, therefore you must have some kind of plan in place to respond to all emergencies,” she warned.
Ms. Newsome told JIS News that although some businesses had made the effort to put in place general disaster preparedness and business recovery plans, the majority reviewed by ODPEM, were lacking in detail.
“Most plans that we have critiqued have been very general, where it should be very specific. It must give particular reference and input to positions, in terms of who will carry out particular functions in the event of a disaster,” she pointed out.
Every step should be outlined and the role of selected persons in the organisation clearly defined in the plan, so that in the wake of an emergency, the plan can be properly implemented.
These plans should include: appointing safety wardens for each floor of a building; procedures to govern emergency exits and lighting for emergency routes; and strategies for getting staff and clients, who may be disabled, out of the building.
“I believe that when designing a plan, it should be a coordinated approach by businesses, involving all staff,” she said. Once the plan has been designed, it can be forwarded to ODPEM, which will in turn, make recommendations and return it.
“I do think businesses in general need to take this concept or idea of planning for disaster planning more seriously. We still have such a far way to go when it comes to this,” Ms. Newsome acknowledged.With reports of an active hurricane season come June, it does behove businesses to get started.

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