Standards for Emergency Responders
Once you’ve been notified of an emergency, and after your people arrive on the scene, it will be necessary to make a quick determination as to whether the damage is enterprise-wide (something that involves multiple departments) or is confined to your department. The procedures you will follow in response will be based in large part on an initial assessment. For example, if a power supply goes out in a router or multiplexer, the damage may well affect the company as a whole, but the response will be coordinated principally by technical support rather than by the corporate response team. Therefore, you’ll need a standard on how often to file reports upstairs on your progress in mitigating the problem.
The technical support response team will keep the executive management team or other corporate entity apprised as to the status of the recovery, but basically will act on its own to rectify any problems confined to the technical area of responsibility. This team will also be expected to coordinate with other teams as necessary, of course. For example, the facilities group would be consulted in matters of power issues or common facilities. Depending on the situation, eventually many other teams may be involved in the restoration effort.
On the other hand, if the disaster is more global in nature, such as fire, earthquake, flood, tornado, etc., the technical support team (MIS, open systems, telecommunications, and so on) will act in the "supporting cast" role, taking their direction directly from the EMT.
In either case, the ability to report upstream to the EMT is necessary. Consider including checklists and cheat sheets in your standards document. (Figures 1 and 2 show some examples.) These lists can be updated periodically to affect changes in technology, or can be written in a more generic fashion. The key is to identify tasks and responsible positions in advance, and then provide some guidance on the nature of those persons’ responsibilities.
Figure 1 Documents like this tell the first responder what steps to take immediately.
Figure 2 Forms prepared in advance can speed the recovery process and prevent the potential confusion of handwritten notes or phone messages.