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Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: The Role of Facility Managers

by Clean India Journal Editor
0 comment

Disaster preparedness and recovery are critical pillars of the facility management space ensuring smooth operations of buildings and infrastructure. Commercial, industrial, or institutional facilities are vulnerable to potential disasters like natural calamities, technological failures, and other unforeseen events. Adhiraj Gadgil, Senior Director – Facilities, Admin, Procurement, CSR and CRE, Harbinger Group shared his inputs with Clean India Journal on the comprehensive measures undertaken by facility managers to ensure the safety of occupants & assets, mitigation of damages and speedy recovery processes.

Facility management is the backbone of an organization and facility managers, besides looking after the day-to-day maintenance of buildings, are also responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive disaster preparedness & recovery plans (DRP).

Disaster preparedness broadly includes risk assessment, planning for an emergency, preparedness training and drills, and collaboration with local authorities.

Facility managers should conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities within a facility and its immediate surroundings. This includes evaluating the structural integrity of buildings, assessing the potential impact of natural disasters, and identifying critical infrastructure that may be sensitive to damage. The necessary steps are designed by the managers to reduce the severity of the incidence by creating a backup plan for business continuity.

Based on the identified risk assessment, facility managers should develop and implement emergency plans that outline specific actions to be taken before, during, and after a disaster. These plans include evacuation procedures, communication protocols, and strategies for safeguarding essential equipment and documents.

Facility managers must ensure regular organization of training sessions and drills through Emergency Response Team members to ensure that employees are well-prepared to respond effectively to emergencies. These exercises help to improve the coordination and communication among the employees, encouraging a culture of readiness and responsiveness.

Facility managers establish strong connections with local emergency services such as the Fire department, Police, Medical, Ambulance, and other civil authorities. Collaborating with these entities ensures a coordinated response during a disaster, with clear lines of communication and mutual support to mitigate the impact on the facility and its occupants.

Disaster recovery primarily covers damage assessment, temporary backup facilities/ DR sites, communication, and stakeholder engagement.

Damage assessment happens immediately following a disaster where facility managers assess the extent of damage to the facility and its infrastructure. It involves working closely with engineers, contractors, and insurance assessors to determine the scope of repairs needed and estimate the time required for recovery.

FM personnel are tasked with establishing temporary facilities to ensure that essential functions can resume while repairs are underway. This may involve setting up temporary offices, securing alternative power sources, and ensuring the availability of critical resources for uninterrupted operations.

FM staff play a crucial role in allocating resources efficiently during the recovery phase. This includes coordinating with procurement teams to acquire necessary materials, coordinating with the engineering and IT teams, overseeing construction projects, and managing budgets to ensure a cost-effective and timely recovery. They also liaise with stakeholders, including employees, tenants, and local communities, providing regular updates on the progress of recovery efforts and addressing concerns to maintain trust and confidence.

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