Staff, member preparation best prescription for disaster recovery

March 18, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (3/18/16)--Flooding hit the southern part of the United States this week, a grim reminder that spring is the best time of year to prepare for weather-related disasters.

It appears that credit unions emerged unscathed from this week’s flooding, according to state credit unions leagues and CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery. However, the Louisiana Credit Union League reported many parishes in Louisiana were hit hard, leaving a devastating impact on many businesses and residential areas. The Louisiana Credit Union Foundation is offering assistance to credit union employees (eNews March 16).

Flood“We’re trying to push educational and preparedness tools out through credit union organizations to tell people that this is their wake up call,” Scott Teel, marketing director at Agility Recovery, told News Now. “This is probably the first of several rounds that will roll through the Mississippi basin this year.”

Teel said a properly executed disaster recovery plan can save an organization seven to 10 times as much in losses if a weather-related disaster occurs.

“Beyond just the overall economic recovery it takes to recovery, you’re also looking at the time it takes to recover,” Teel said. “For many small businesses and credit unions that serve small credit unions, a weeklong interruption in your business can be a financial disaster.”

“You don’t have to put together a 500-page disaster recovery plan,” Teel said. “It’s very simple to look at the top two or three threats and lay out a plan for how you would overcome those.”

Agility Recovery offered the following checklist to prepare for a flood conditions:

  • Review emergency plan and evaluate local area’s flood risk with crisis management team, and key employees;
  • Take all necessary steps to prevent the release of dangerous chemicals that might be stored on your property--locate gas main and electrical shut-offs and anchor all fuel tanks;
  • Postpone any receipt of goods, deliveries and couriers;
  • Contact insurance agent to discuss policy and confirm flood insurance coverage;
  • Establish an emergency communication method;  identify meeting place and time for all key employees on the crisis management team; create voicemail when office is evacuated, or out of office, etc.;
  • Update disaster recovery kits and begin crisis back-up procedures
  • Maintain accurate inventory of product on site;
  • Use plugs to prevent floodwater from backing up into sewer drains, or install flood vents/or flood-proof barriers; and
  • Stay tuned to local media and community messaging.