Family disaster planning goes mainstream

March 2009 Security Services & Risk Management

ContinuitySA has unveiled the latest trend in international business continuity best practices in South Africa, personal crisis management planning.

Personal crisis management planning ensures that employees develop personal disaster recovery plans to ensure their families are safe in an emergency situation.

GM of business development at ContinuitySA, Ansophie Strydom, says, “Whether it is weather, industrial action, financial meltdowns, pandemics, serious power outages or old-fashioned fraud, the number of crises a business has to prepare for are increasing.”

Strydom says that most enterprises have realised the importance of preparing for emergencies and have enacted business continuity policies and practices to keep their companies running when emergencies strike.

However, if it is a general disaster that affects a suburb or city, employees will naturally be worried about contacting their families and ensuring they are safe, distracting them from their jobs and potentially hindering the recovery of the business. Even if a disaster does not affect an employee per se, but the community he/she lives in, a similar emotional response may occur. A comprehensive personal crisis management plan will ensure the individual’s family is safe, even if telecommunications services are down.

Due to the proliferation of natural disasters in the US, American businesses are now starting to insist their employees have their own personal crisis management plans.

“Creating a personal crisis management plan not only offers peace of mind when a disaster strikes, but also empowers the whole family with the knowledge of what to do when lesser problems strike, such as a car breakdown,” adds Strydom. “In the same way that a lack of business continuity planning in business leads to panic and chaos when a disaster strikes a company, the lack of a personal plan can also cause panic and potentially severe emotional trauma.”

The following are some aspects, amongst dozens of others, which could form part of a personal crisis management plan:

1. Every family must have a personal crisis management plan and relatives and friends must be briefed as to what their role will be in the case of an emergency. Children old enough to manage the situation at hand must also have access to their own copy of the crisis plan.

2. Bank account numbers, medical aid details, insurance policies, a list of monthly accounts to be paid and a list of close family members can be left, in a sealed envelope, with the family attorney as a backup.

3. Families should have at least one tabletop drill per year to test their personal crisis management plans for any problems.

4. The plan should be handed to the employers of both parents for their records. All personal details like bank passwords must be left out.

For more information contact Marelda Moodley, marketing manager, ContinuitySA, +27 (0)11 554 8232,

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