Tip of the Month

Tip for December 2016

Be Prepared to Respond to Disasters

Disaster could strike a law firm at any time and in totally unexpected ways such as fire, hurricane, tornado, flood, explosion, mudslide, armed intruder or terrorist attack. Once it strikes, it’s too late to start planning for how to deal with it. Every firm should have a plan in place to protect personnel, records and other property. The first matter to address is always the safety of your staff, clients and visitors to your office. Some necessary components of a disaster response and recovery plan include: 1. Identify the Potential Causes of a Disaster, Both Natural and Human; 2. Insurance Coverage, including coverage for business interruption, extra expense, valuable papers, computer hardware and software. 3.Designate and Train an Emergency Response Person or Team responsible for having a plan in place, implementing the plan, and making decisions and providing leadership during an emergency. 4.Establish a System of Communications with firm attorneys, staff, clients and vendors. 5.Ensure the Personal Safety of Staff and Visitors to the Office. Include procedures for evacuation. 6.Preservation of Files and Records 7.Space and Facilities 8.Post-Disaster Well-Being of the Staff The entire staff should be informed of your firm's disaster response procedures. One or more persons should be responsible for devising the evacuation plan and for educating the staff. Evacuation routes and other safety notices should be posted. Hold periodic fire drills. Make sure the staff knows where fire alarms and fire extinguishers are located, how to use them and when it is appropriate to use them. Assign persons to assist those that need assistance. Use the educational and inspection services of the local fire and police departments. Designate a meeting place outside the office in the event of an evacuation.