UW Emergency Management

January 8, 2018

BARC Month 1: Collect key information about your organization

You know your organization. You know your work. The first step in business continuity planning is taking what you know, and getting it recorded in case you are not around when the plan is activated. For this section we will capture the mission of your organization, base details (the who, what, when, where, why and how), and start considering continuity of staffing questions.

By the end of this month, you will not only be set up in Husky Ready with your department plan, you will have an emergency contact list for everyone on staff and a plan for succession of leadership during a continuity event (or at least a plan for identifying one).

Month 1:  Collect key information about your organization

Total estimated time: up to 4 hours

Image for Month 1Step 1 – Getting Started (20 minutes):

  • If you haven’t already, create an account for access to the Husky Ready tool
  • Create a plan in the system for your department if one does not already exist (Not sure? Email us!)
  • Fill out/update your basic department information (Husky Ready section “Department Information” under “Plan Details”)
TIP: Take note of what you don’t know and are unsure of along the way. These will be captured as action items. Don’t stop if you run into a roadblock; just list it as a task for later. It is okay to say you don’t know!

Step 2 – Who do you have on staff? (1.5 hours): 

  • If you do not already have one, develop a contact list with the home contact information of everyone on staff. This list should be:
    • In the format of your choosing (though you are welcome to use our template from GoogleDrive)
    • Held by enough people (both physically and digitally)  to be useful
    • Treated as confidential
    • Stored securely at home and at work
    • Updated at least twice a year
  • Upload staff contact list into Husky Ready (Husky Ready section “Documents” under “Key Resources”)
  • Answer the questions in Husky Ready about emergency contact lists and other staff details (Husky Ready section “Staff Basics” under “Key Resources”)
  • If your staff is divided into teams, add that team information to Husky Ready (Section “Teams” under “Key Resources”)

Step 3 – Specific staff roles and skills (1 hour):

  • Everyone on staff brings their own set of skills to a role. In Husky Ready (section “Skills” under “Key Resources”) capture any skills–both specific to your organization (example: your record keeping system) or broadly useful (example: second language fluency)–that may be of use after a disruptive event or that make it difficult for anyone else to step into a specific role.
  • After a disruptive event, there is a chance not everyone on your staff will be available. Do you have an identified chain of succession, outlining the decision makers and leaders in the event your current director is unavailable?
    • If yes, input these key people (and any others who you would call upon first in time of crisis) in “Key People” under “Key Resources”
    • If no, set this aside for now (but be sure to include any key people in the “Key People” section under “Key Resources”)

Step 4 – Action items  (45 minutes): 

  •  Based on your work on the first three steps, you may have identified some missing information or needs. You will capture these action items in Husky Ready by adding them to the “Action Items Summary” under “Plan Details.” (Please note the time estimate is for inputting and assigning these actions, not completing them). Some action items you might consider:
    • Developing a plan for succession of leadership
    • Cross-training staff in essential skills if your team lacks redundancy
TIP: If this is still too much, split it over two months! The goal is to make the process of continuity planning more easy to tackle, not to stress you out every month. Remember: You have a resource. Our BARC Manager is available via email, phone and in person. 

Congratulations! You have started your continuity plan! Should disaster hit tomorrow, you will have the information you need to contact staff and reassign responsibilities. See you next month!

This post is part of a 2018 series breaking the process of business continuity planning for University of Washington departments into monthly tasks to help build a plan in a year