Businesses – Could You Afford to Close for 5 Days?

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The recent water contamination crisis in West Virginia that closed businesses, organizations, institutions and schools large and small in 9 counties for 5 days, serves as a sharp warning to all businesses that an unforeseen crisis may occur at any time.  Do you have a plan in place?

Gather your teams together and use this story as a possible crisis scenario. Any business that uses water for any purpose – as a part of the manufacturing process, in food production, for livestock, would suffer a tremendous impact.

WVCHEMLEAKIndustrial water use includes water used for such purposes as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product; incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs within the manufacturing facility. Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals.

In the case of West Virginia, knowing little about the chemical compound contaminant created great confusion and an important area for additional review. For example; is it flammable? If during a water crisis, your facility experienced a fire, would there be an alternative, safe fire retardant or water source?

The discussion and process with your teams should identify the resources needed to resume critical functions, as well as identify critical internal and external dependencies essential to the recovery process.

While discussing your plan, review and update your Business Impact Analysis and think of these areas:

  • Department Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)
  • Department Recovery Point Objectives (RPO)
  • In-Out-Across Dependencies
  • Internal department to department
  • Key external suppliers and vendors
  • Employee Support
  • Customer Communication
  • Government Official Coordination
  • more….

Original story: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is encouraging West Virginians to do what they can to help local business owners and employees who were forced to close their stores or prevented from working due to the water crisis.

“The past few days have been incredibly hard for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who have been forced to live without access to clean water for drinking or to accomplish things we took for granted, such as take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “But in true West Virginia style, we have come together as neighbors and helped each other out. Now that water is coming back on in certain areas, we need to continue our teamwork to support our neighborhood business owners and employees who were prohibited from working through no fault of their own.”

To do not use order caused restaurants, hair salons, car washes and other businesses that use water to close their doors or deeply limit what they could sell.

“Many business owners do not anticipate having to close for several days in a row, and as a result, may face severe economic hardships,” Morrisey said. “Small businesses, and restaurants in particular, typically work with very little margins; having to go days without customers could put these people in a make-or-break scenario.”

Morrisey said the closures have had a devastating impact on employees of shuttered businesses who may have gone without pay due to the crisis. (Read more here)

Review and begin to update your Business Impact Analysis Here

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