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The Potential Impact of a Pandemic Event and The Value of Preparation

Concerns over Ebola outbreaks have become increasingly clear and present across the U.S. this week. This is a serious disease, and like all pandemics, requires special care and consideration when it comes to preparation and critical communication.

In a recent white paper, Pandemic Preparedness: 10 Key Pandemic Readiness Components, business continuity experts from Deloitte foreshadowed many conversations and strategic planning sessions likely taking place in organizations around the country. The paper addresses the impact of a pandemic event, like ebola, as well as the value of being prepared and how to implement your preparedness plan.

Here is a look at just a few of their key Readiness Components–download the full guide to learn more. We are here to hel:

Leadership/Decision Making – A Pandemic Planning and Coordination Unit (PPCU) needs to be implemented as a part of the existing Business Continuity Planning (BCP) function. This helps ensure an organization has a well-defined structure in place for decisions to be made in a timely and effective manner. Without a PPCU in place, there could be long delays caused by indecision or a lack of clarity as to who’s authorized to do what in a pandemic event.

Education – Organizations need to educate employees as to what is expected from them in a pandemic event. For example, are people expected to stay home? Do operating procedures change with a 30 to 40 percent absentee rate? Employees should also be made aware of knowledge about prevention and treatment.

Public/Private Partnerships – Develop and maintain relationships with trading partners and critical stakeholders, such as unions and public health agencies. These relationships could prove beneficial in a pandemic event, as it can give an organization priority access to necessary supplies. It is also important to discover if it is worth the time and effort to build these relationships.

Communication – The response plan and approach needs to be communicated to employees and families, customers, suppliers, and partners. Organizations also need to figure out the means by which they will get the message out. It is recommended that organizations have pre-written messages for specific scenarios so they know what is going to be sent out should a pandemic event present itself.

Telecommuting – Depending on how a pandemic event is impacting an organization, allowing employees to work from home could be the best way to ensure continued operation with limited disruption. When allowing employees to work from home there are a number of factors that need to be considered, such as laptop configurations, networking concerns, and security of home computers. Tests should be run to make sure it is possible for a high percentage of the staff to telecommute without any issues.