As the Earth's temperature warms, so do the seas. And, as Coastal Virginians, we need to be prepared. Long-term sea level rise will affect our resources – from infrastructure and transportation to agriculture, recreation and human health – so, what’s your plan?
If your response is “I don’t have one” or “sea-level rise doesn’t affect me or my business,” keep reading.
A business continuity plan (BCP) is essential to any business. The plan provides practical strategies to follow in a crisis. It’s also a plan that needs to be reviewed on a regular basis. Just putting together a plan and storing it on the shelf won’t cut it. Like the tide (pun intended), plans should be continually changing in response to factors within – and out of – your control.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea level is rising at an increased rate and isn’t giving in anytime soon. With the majority of Americans living and working in coastal states, rising water levels can have potentially large impacts.
So, if you haven’t thought about a business continuity plan, it’s time to develop one or review your current plan. Either way, make sure it includes a flood resilience action plan.
As you’re reviewing or developing your plan, keep these five key components in mind:
If you’re still not sure your business needs a BCP, keep this in mind - 57% of small businesses have NO disaster recovery plan. And for those that do, 90% percent of businesses spend less than one day per month reviewing and maintaining them. Twenty-five percent of small to mid-sized businesses do not reopen following a major disaster and the median cost of downtime is $3,000 per day. Is that something your business can afford or be willing to risk?
Once businesses accept rising sea levels as a real threat like any other natural disaster and build a plan around its potential effects, it will increase their ability to be resilient.
So while it might sound like a daunting task and require additional resources to develop, businesses can’t afford not to invest in a BCP that addresses the changing climate and its effects on operations. To get started on your plan - or for a refresher on your current plan – check out the free online resources at www.ready.gov and www.fema.gov. Now is the time to take action.
Bert Conley, a 25 year veteran of the USAF Reserves and former police officer, is the regional director of Security, Risk and Safety for Cox Communications Virginia. Bert holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the FBI Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives at Princeton University. You may contact Bert at Robert.Conley@cox.com for additional BCP information and resources.