documenting-disaster-procedures“Expect the worst, hope for the best” is not a plan for dealing with disasters. In the event of a calamity, it’s essential to know the best practices for protecting your business, no matter where you are or what industry you’re in. It’s also critical that you have a written, well-documented disaster plan.

Disaster Planning and Mechanical Contracting

While it’s impossible to fully plan for the unplanned, there are some steps you can do in advance that will help you recover from a disaster faster. One is to vet a mechanical contracting firm, like TMS, in advance so that you just need to make a call when a crisis occurs. The other absolutely necessary step is to create a disaster recovery plan in writing, that’s easily readable with simple and detailed instructions. Here’s some of what it should include:

Accessible Information – When disaster strikes, time is of the essence so the plan document must contain a table of contents for fast reference and sections should be kept to a minimum. Key ownership or management contact details, revision history and other details such as the confidential status and audience for the document should also be included.

Purpose of the Plan – To avoid confusion when swift action is required, it’s imperative to state the purpose of the disaster recovery plan by clearly defining objectives in the document’s introduction.

Scope of Services – This section conveys the circumstances under which the plan is invoked, from conditions that warrant a reconstitution phase to the length of time the defined procedures are in effect. For example, a line that’s down for couple of hours may not require emergency action while a daylong outage would.

Dependency Details – Any assumptions of the document should be clearly stated by listing all dependencies of the plan. In other words, don’t assume a certain number of personnel will be available at the disaster recovery facility. Have backup people in mind too. Such dependencies should be accompanied with appropriate contact details.

Exclusions Explained – The document should state any related disaster activities that the plan does not cover by mentioning any known references. For example, the plan may not cover a power restoration plan, instead referring to the appropriate contacts at the power company or related external documents.

Roles and Responsibilities – In the case of emergencies, key mechanical services roles should have primary and alternate personnel assigned. In addition to providing an organizational diagram that depicts the reporting relationships, roles and responsibilities of those involved should be clearly listed for the activation, execution and reconstitution phases.

Contacts – The document’s appendix should include full contact information for the managerial and operational staff involved in the planning, activation, execution, and reconstitution phases. This should include external contacts like your mechanical contractor.

Activation Procedures – The procedures for notification, damage assessment, and activation of the plan should be clearly outlined, while any topic that needs to be covered in great detail may be added as an appendix.

Execution Procedures – To offer the best possible outcome, the recovery procedure for each of the plan’s components should be explained in detail. Whenever there are parallel tasks, it’s beneficial to provide flow charts to visualize each one. The evaluation criteria to determine the success and failure of each procedure should be covered as well as instructions on further actions.

Avoid Disasters with Mechanical Services Disaster Planning

The future comes with highs and lows. To make sure your business can weather the worst situation, contact a mechanical services company with disaster recovery experience. TMS has the know-how to plan for unforeseen problems which will get you back running during a calamity and give you peace of mind the rest of the time. To learn more, contact TMS.