SAN DIEGO, June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With wildfire season already off to a dramatic start, MIR3, Inc., the innovator of real-time Intelligent Notification and response technology, is urging employers and municipalities to review their current business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans to keep people safe and operations running if a wildfire threatens.
According to the Denver Post, as of last week the High Park fire had already burned through 50,000 acres of Larimer County, Colorado. That's roughly 65 square miles, of which 70 percent is federal lands. The National Guard has joined firefighters on the fire lines and The Department of Defense has had a team on standby. As of today, the fire is 50% contained and other fires are being fought in California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.
In the month of May conditions in the contiguous United States were the second warmest ever recorded, with lighter than average rainfall recorded in the Southwest, Central Plains and Mid-South regions. So far this year, according to NOAA Satellite and Information Service, 4,435 fires have burned 337,182 acres. The National Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services anticipates above normal temperatures from July to September across most of the southern two-thirds of the country, with below-average rainfall in the Northwest and northern Rockies. The upcoming wildfire season is likely to be a challenging one.
Looking back to 2011, the nationwide number of fires for the year was 73,484, scorching 8.7 million acres. The spring and summer were particularly active wildfire periods; the fall season was quieter than average. While it's too early to predict 2012 numbers, wildfires can be expected to affect the operations of numerous businesses, compromising employee safety and business productivity. We can't stop the fires from starting, but advancements, like automated emergency notification, can provide organizations a way to communicate with employees, partners, and customers during the inevitable interruptions caused by wildfires.
In an effort to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the workplace, MIR3 executives are offering businesses the following tips on examining BC/DR plans:
- Evaluate BC/DR needs - When threatened by the encroachment of a wildfire, it's critical for companies to maintain clear and effective channels of communication to quickly assess damages and coordinate recovery. Because essential business operations can be affected by any level of interruption, companies must realize the importance of investing in important message delivery systems to deliver essential communication to employees and first responders.
- Choose a feature-rich notification system - When selecting a notification system, be certain your system offers two-way communication over a variety of channels, including landline, mobile phones, fax, SMS, Blackberry PIN-to-PIN, email, and more. These advanced features are essential in the delivery of important and urgent information when the usual communication infrastructure is compromised.
- Update all contact data - Regularly check your potential recipient lists to ensure that all contact information is up-to-date so when fire occurs you can be confident that notifications are being delivered to the right person on the right device.
- Create escalation plans - Crisis events like wildfires demand that specific people are contacted immediately. Intelligent Notification systems include integrated mechanisms that support a call escalation process. If the first person contacted is not the correct individual for the situation, the notification system will automatically contact the next appropriate person according to pre-determined processes.
- Train your personnel - When creating BC/DR plans, it is essential to properly train personnel on how to use notification software so they can monitor the entire alert process. Studies show that companies who educate their employees correctly achieve significantly greater response rates.
- Test your system - Test alert systems during normal business hours and well before fire season to address any glitches to be certain that notification will be delivered successfully when needed. At least two system tests per year are recommended.
- Encourage all employees to sign-up for notifications - Automated notification works best when all user contact information is saved within the system's database so that staff can be alerted immediately during an urgent situation. This ensures the reliable and speedy delivery of important messages at the right time, to the right person, on the right device.
- Establish steps to follow after the disaster - Once the threat of a fire has passed, your business continuity program should specify procedures to help bring business operations back to normal as soon as possible. These measures will enable organizations to return to productivity as quickly as possible and will help better prepare for future crises.
MIR3, Inc. is the leading developer of Intelligent Notification and response software, which helps organizations enhance communication abilities, protect assets, and increase operational efficiency. MIR3 technology enables advanced rapid, two-way communication for IT, business continuity, and enterprise operations for many of the Global Fortune 100 companies, as well as government entities, universities, and companies of all sizes in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit http://www.mir3.com. Follow MIR3 on Twitter: @MIR3. Visit the MIR3 blog: http://www.mir3.com/blog.
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