In times of crisis, many citizens rely on community services. So we should be prepared to ensure that we can continue offering services in a disaster.
The following are a few questions to consider. What would you do if:
- You had no access to the system housing all your volunteer information because of a blackout?
- You could no longer access your building due to an extreme snow storm?
- A large number of your staff was infected with the avian flu, and many others were at risk?
Are you able to handle these types of emergencies and provide your normal services?
If your answer is NO, you are not alone. In a survey Community Resiliency Handbook conducted by the Canadian Red Cross, only 59 per cent of voluntary organizations had a disaster preparedness plan in place. And most organizations did not have the capacity to maintain their critical services in the event of an emergency.
The first step in being prepared is creating a service continuity plan so your organization can provide critical services at all times. It's easier than you think. Developing a service continuity plan does not have to be difficult; it simply takes a bit of time and effort to get the process started.
Creating a comprehensive service continuity plan for your organization can seem like a daunting task; however, the key is to break the process into smaller steps. Planning begins by asking: Is your organization prepared to handle most types of emergencies while continuing to deliver your normal services?
The Service Continuity Tutorial will take you through the steps of creating a plan for your organization. You may choose to go through the entire tutorial in one sitting or focus on one module at a time.
At the end of this tutorial, you should have a better idea of the tasks needed to create a service continuity plan and tools to help you do so.
Keep in mind that this tutorial is designed to help get the process started and that creating a service continuity plan is a long-term process that is fluid, not static. The process will continue as your organization grows or changes.
The main objective is first to ensure that your organization is prepared for a disaster. You can then assess whether your organization is capable of contributing to a community response.