By Michael Aiguier
An emergency plan is something every organization should have. Here in Maine, we generally have something in place for when we get snowed in, or the electricity goes out, and these are aspects of any good emergency plan. It is the unexpected emergencies that a good general plan covers.
Some things that need to be covered are phone trees, off-site back up of files and secondary suppliers. Phone trees are something that we often have in place already for snow days, and are really good for everyone to be well informed of. You might consider adding non-essential personal to your phone trees, since they sometimes show up out of concern, when safety would dictate that they stay home. Off-site back up of files is electronic and paper, because of the possibility of fires as well as flooding. Secondary suppliers are necessary to have in case your current supplier was not as prepared as you were for the emergency.
One great resource to keep in mind in times of emergency is 2-1-1. 2-1-1 Maine works with the Maine Emergency Management Agency on statewide disaster planning and with county emergency management agency directors for disaster planning on a localized basis. They are able to dispel rumors and guide people to the nearest resources (shelters, aid agencies, etc.) that can help. If you are interested in helping during natural disaster situations, Maine Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster is a partner with VolunteerMaine.org and has many different types of organizations with different types of positions and opportunities.
There are several places on-line that have basic fill in the blank plans for free, but one of the best I have found is the FEMA.gov website. The size of the organization is going to determine the size of the plan, but should not determine whether or not there is one.
Michael Aiguier is a VISTA serving at the United Way of Eastern Maine and a featured blogger.