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Disaster Management

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Updated: Monday, November 24, 2014

Hello RFMA members,

It's almost Thanksgiving and hopefully your workloads have slowed a bit from the summer months. This time of year may present a small window of opportunity to get caught up on 2014 projects or begin planning the 2015 first quarter jobs. It may also be a good time to review any programs or initiatives that need revisiting, like Disaster Management. Disasters consists of one of the following:

- Tornado's

- Hurricanes

- Floods

- Earthquakes

- Fires / Wildfires

- Ice & snow storms

Planning is the single most important item for protecting your employees, customers, and assets. Planning areas are:

- How to prepare

- How to minimize the effects

- Appropriate response(s)

- Recovery

Preparing includes having facility protection supplies like shutters, plywood, generators and having your local contractor lined up to install these. Additional emergency items to have ready are flash lights, drinking water, stocked First Aid Kit, 2-way radios, extra cellphone batteries, and even cash reserves. The timing of putting these items into action needs to be established long before the actual disaster arrives. Communication and who makes the decisions is crucial. All plans need input and buy-in from internal departments, i.e., Operations, HR, IT, Food Safety, Legal, Communications, Facilities, etc. A well conceived plan will assist in the decision making required at critical points during the disaster. Plans need to be practiced periodically to familiarize everyone what exactly is expected and revised accordingly.

Implementation of the recovery part of the plan included who makes "on the ground" decisions. Supplies and equipment should be in place and ready to mobilize. Contractors should be lined up and ready to go. Ensure the facility remains safe. Communications to local public officials needs to be established to acquire permits, food safety sign offs, etc. It is always the goal to be re-opened ASAP as long as the food, facilities, employees, and customers are safe.

Ensure your company has the proper insurance protection. Most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage.

There is a large amount of Disaster Management available on the Internet. I recommend "Open for Business", provided by the Institute for Business and Home Safety at: or the "Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments" at:

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Dover and out.

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