It’s about time you dusted off your latest version of you Business Continuity Plan to see what changes need to be made to ensure that is can provide the necessary guidance and action plans, and in effect, change into a Pandemic Plan. Some folks may remember that in early 2008 various financial services regulatory agencies published an Interagency Statement on Pandemic Planning. This helps draw the distinction between Business Continuity Planning and Pandemic Planning. This taken with the FFIEC Examination Handbook for Business Continuity Management will provide you with more than you need to get started. Nonfinancial organization will think this is a bit much, but as you start thinking about the issue, you can eliminate those items that do not seem to fit.
The Pandemic Planning document makes it clear that there is a difference between the two planning activities. “Regular” business continuity issues are short lived and generally limited in geographic scope. Resources from unaffected areas can be brought to bare to overcome regional issues. Pandemic plans will differ in scope and impact. The pandemic event may occur in multiple waves, lasting two or three months. The most likely challenge from a severe pandemic event will be staffing shortages due to absenteeism. Looking at China’s recent travel restrictions, government limits on travel may be one of the causes of the absenteeism.
What have you got to lose by taking a day or two and preparing your organization for this type of event? You may also find other steps you should consider for regular business continuity events that you have not previously considered. Rather than sitting through your normal routine meetings, bring some excitement into your day by doing some constructive planning. Do a little research on the web and see all the resources you have available to you. Most likely you will find some that more directly fit your organization’s business.