Many organizations have for long used contingency plans as part of their general emergency preparedness. In most cases, these plans consist of a set of many emergency response plans for different types of emergencies.
While this is a commendable effort for cushioning a business against future unforeseen events, it’s not the most effective. A better and more effective approach would be to use an integrated contingency plan.
What is an integrated contingency plan?
Also known as ICP, or One Plan, an integrated contingency plan is a comprehensive plan that consolidates all your organization’s emergency plans into one core document.
Instead of developing a plan for each type of emergency, an ICP enables you to merge all these plans into an all-inclusive plan.
The idea of an integrated contingency plan was first introduced by the United States National Response Team (NRT) in the year 1996. During this time, it published the Integrated Contingency Plan Guidance to help organizations merge their plans into one core document. Since then, the tactic has been beneficial for many organizations both in the public and private sectors.
Is an integrated contingency planning approach the right one for you? Well, here we will discuss a few reasons why your organization may enjoy adopting an integrated contingency plan, among them being:
1. Provides significant cost savings
Having many emergency response plans often results in duplication and/or overlapping of programs between different projects. This, in turn, escalates the administrative costs for preparing and executing these plans.
Using an integrated approach eliminates overlapping programs by ensuring every program is unique from the rest. This ensures costs are kept to a least and activities are coordinated more . Moreover, emergency regulatory fines are eliminated and the amount of funds spent on actual recovery processes is lessened.
2. Improves disaster response
Having disparate disaster response plans often brings about discrepancies and inconsistencies in information. This leads to poor emergency response when an actual disaster occurs. Yet, incorporating the different plans into one core document ensures the discrepancies and inconsistencies are eliminated. So, emergency response operations are improved.
Integrated contingency plans are particularly important for organizations utilizing mobile crisis management tools in their recovery operations. This is because it makes it easier to share relevant and up-to-date information for a specific emergency with their stakeholders. This empowers the stakeholders to act and hence minimizing business interruptions.
3. Better compliance with regulations
There is a myriad of regulations set up by federal authorities to ensure organizations follow certain standards of emergency preparedness. Some of the most common requirements and regulations for contingency planning include:
- EPA Risk Management Program Regulation
- EPA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements
- EPA Oil Spills Prevention and Preparedness Regulations
- Department of Transport Pipeline Response Plan Regulation
- Facility response plan regulations from EPA, USCG, and BSEE
- Clean Water Act
- OSHA Emergency Response Regulation
- OSHA Process Safety Management Standards, and much more
If your organization is expected to follow any of these regulations, then an integrated contingency plan is the best solution. This is because it enables you to combine all these requirements in one document. This is the chief reason why the NRT published the Integrated Contingency Plan Guidance in 1996. This shows how important an ICP is in helping organizations adhere to government regulations.
4. It streamlines the emergency planning process
Instead of crafting different plans for different emergencies, an integrated risk contingency plan enables you to combine them into one. This approach removes redundant steps from your planning process and improves efficiency. Thus, your team saves on time and costs while still producing an effective and easy-to-use contingency plan. Moreover, reviewing one comprehensive plan is much faster than reviewing five or more different ones.
5. Reveals patterns for better emergency response
Integration of information, regardless of its nature, often reveals patterns that could not be deciphered before. This is true in emergency response planning as it is in other fields. In this sense, the integration enables you to identify how different processes relate to each other and how they affect one another.
By recognizing these patterns, you’ll be able to gain insights into the scope of a given disaster and its effects. From there, you can begin thinking of better ways to prepare and address emergencies and cut disruptions within the organization.
6. It optimizes resource allocation
As earlier noted, integrated contingency planning streamlines the whole IT disaster recovery service and process. As a result, wastage of company resources is minimized.
Organizations can make better use of their enterprise resource planning tools thus avoiding redundant processes and eliminating unnecessary expenditures.
Furthermore, streamlined planning ensures the best employees, equipment, and tools are allocated to the most crucial disaster response activities. This makes better use of emergency resources while ensuring the full spectrum of operational risks is prepared for. This boosts your organization’s financial performance and increases its competitive strength.
As elaborated above, the benefits of an integrated contingency plan are immense. Not only will it lessen your planning budget but it will also ensure you’re best prepared to meet the uncertain future. We recommend that you involve an experienced emergency response professional for the best results in developing your ICP.