TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Christy Gibson on Nov 7, 2012

By Norma Shirk

Preparing for Winter Weather

I love the cooler weather these days after the heat of summer.  Soon the leaves will change to beautiful reds, yellows and oranges. Perhaps you prefer this time of year for the college football. Whatever our reasons, everyone likes autumn. But autumn leads inevitably to winter and that often means bad weather that interrupts company operations. 

So now is the perfect time to prepare for winter weather by dragging out and dusting off your company’s disaster recovery plan (or emergency response plan or business continuity plan). Whatever your company calls the plan, it covers three things: building, people and technology.

Building: If a winter storm knocks out the power to your company’s office, is there a backup power source, such as a generator, in the building to allow tenants to continue operations? If the building was inaccessible, could employees work from home?

People: Has the call list been updated to add contact information for all new employees? Have all former employees been removed from the list? Have employees verified their contact information? An out-of-date list means that employees can’t be contacted with information about office closings. It also means that the company can’t verify the safety of its employees during natural disasters, such as winter storms.  Another critical question is how your customers and key vendors will know if you are open for business.

Technology: How many programs used by your company are internet-based and accessible from any location? Does your company have backup servers in a location away from the primary office building that would allow operations to continue even if that office building was unavailable?

The above questions are a sample of what should be asked as you review your company’s disaster recovery plan. You’ll be able to think of many more questions, including many questions that reflect the unique circumstances of your company.  After you’ve completed all the updates to your company’s plan, it’s a good idea to test the plan. At a minimum, the employee call list should be tested to confirm the accuracy of the contact information.

Autumn is a great time to test the disaster recovery plan before winter weather causes an actual emergency. 

Norma Shirk


Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, LLC