One of the key steps during an emergency is the communications modality. If key personnel cannot keep in touch with one another and with the staff, then the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan execution will be impeded,. Some of the steps to take for Communicating during an Emergency are:
- Know the type of landline communication service you have. Since some newer forms of communications, such as VoIP do not require power, it will be able to work in an emergency. Once you are aware of what type of service you have, you can plan your communication strategy during an Emergency.
- If your telephone depends on battery back-up, then the battery should be tested and also maintained at pre-determined intervals. The service life of the battery should be taken into account and it should be replaced when due. Spare batteries, fully charged, should also be available.
- During an emergency, if the use of telephone communications is not immediately needed, then it can be unplugged till the need arises. This will help prolong battery life. As soon as power is restored, the battery should be charged. As per the DR/BC plan, dedicated staff should be in charge of the power back-up system.
- When you know a storm is about to strike, ensure that the phones are fully charged. It would be prudent to keep a spare battery and also a car charger on hand.
- If the power goes off; use your laptop or tablet to go online. Use the equipment sparingly, since you may not have power for a long time.
- Since emergency services will broadcast news of the emergency at frequent intervals, ensure that a battery/solar/hand-crank powered radio receiver is available.
- Mobile phones and emails along with social media can be used as a part of your communications strategy.
Steps to be taken to be able to communicate during an emergency
An emergency may last a long time and all businesses should be prepared to stay the course till the situation normalizes. Some steps to take in this regard are:
- Impose restrictions on phone use. Only emergency and important communication should be allowed. This will help prolong battery life
- For non-emergency communications, permit only texting, since this has only a minimum effect on battery life
- Adjust the wireless phone to conserve battery life. For example, the screen can be dimmed etc.
- If a number cannot be reached in the first attempt, wait for a decent interval before redialing. This will help reduce network congestion during an emergency
- If required, a car charger can be used for charging a cell phone. However, exercise caution and do not attempt to do it if it is dangerous to access the car
Though the steps listed above may be small, it goes a long way in conserving battery life. Communicating during an Emergency is one of the crucial aspects of DR/BC.