Your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan isn’t complete without provisions for emergency communications. During a disaster or major disruption, you’ll have to alert your employees and inform them of the next steps. Cybersecurity threats and the pandemic have made the need for adequate preparation even more urgent. Enter AlertFind, a tool we hope you’ll never have to use. 

But how can you incorporate emergency communications into your BC/DR plan? In this article, we’ll look at three real-world examples from different industries and focus on how they successfully used AlertFind emergency communications in their BC/DR initiatives.

1. ALLIANZ GLOBAL INVESTORS

Allianz Global Investors is a global investment management firm that oversees at least USD500 billion. Its client list includes half of the top 100 largest corporations in America. The company is also part of the Allianz Group (NYSE:AZ), a financial services giant operating for over a century in 70 countries worldwide. 

WHY ALLIANZ NEEDED AN EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM (ENS)

One Monday afternoon, in the company’s Stamford, Connecticut (CT) office, 30,000 gallons of home heating oil gushed out of a burst pipe at a neighboring building. The disaster forced the company to send employees home immediately. Unfortunately, Allianz didn’t have time to provide proper instructions, so it could’ve suffered significant downtime without an emergency communications plan in place. Even worse, the crisis spanned three days. 

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“With uncertainty about the office reopening and being safe for employees to occupy, we didn’t want to take any chances of not having our main (800) phone number staffed that day,” said Allianz Vice President, Frank Garofalo.

HOW ALLIANZ ACHIEVED BUSINESS CONTINUITY

Fortunately, the company already had AlertFind in place. The emergency committee at Allianz used AlertFind’s emergency notifications to reach out to their staff, allowing them to quickly convene on a conference call that night and plan business continuity measures. 

AlertFind also allowed them to direct the 190 affected employees to the nearby New York office. The company was then able to resume services while the CT office restored its operations. Throughout the 3-day crisis, the ENS served as the primary communications hub to keep the staff up-to-date on critical information. As soon as the CT office was clear to reopen, Allianz used AlertFind again to notify staff that it was safe to resume operations.

2. GLEN EDEN SUN CLUB

Glen Eden Sun Club is a natural resort and recreational vehicle (RV) park in Temescal Valley, California. This 150-acre haven rests at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains, with the Cleveland National Forest as its backyard.

WHY GLEN EDEN SUN CLUB NEEDED A MORE ADVANCED ENS

In 2018, record-setting wildfires plagued California year-round and posed an immediate threat to the resort. The Holy Burn Fire, which burned 18,000 acres in July and August, came within a mere 200 feet of one of the resort’s residences, with mud and debris flows threatening to overtake the property.

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At the time, the resort was using a manual emergency notification system. In their system, block captains would notify the 300-1,700 residents and visitors in their respective sections. Evidently, this system was slow, and it would take very long to spread the word to residents and visitors. Resort leaders knew they couldn’t provide ample warning for the wildfire fast enough, which was a significant risk to their business. As a result, they set out to find a better ENS replacement

HOW GLEN EDEN SUN CLUB IMPROVED EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

After evaluating 10 ENS solutions, the group settled on AlertFind. They had already witnessed AlertFind’s premium capabilities firsthand when they sent out an evacuation order while still training for the tool. AlertFind activated emergency communications in just a few seconds

“The very first alert I sent out, I was quite nervous because I only had one training session. But once I was done, I was elated because it was so intuitive,” said Gloria Schoeppe, Chairperson of the Emergency Preparedness Committee. “The ability to communicate within seconds to a massive group of people is phenomenal.”

Today, Glen Eden Sun Club still relies on AlertFind for emergency alerts. The group also realized they could use the alerts for other purposes. Now, they also use AlterFind to send updates about road closures, power updates, resort activities, and other events. 

3. HIGHMARK HEALTH

Highmark Health is an insurance provider based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They also have sites in 7 states across the United States. Highmark Health is connected with Allegheny Health Network, an 8-hospital system in western Pennsylvania and western New York. If disaster strikes, the organization has to notify 40,000 employees spread across 15 sites.

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WHY HIGHMARK HEALTH NEEDED A BETTER ENS

The healthcare organization already has a well-established BC/DR plan. However, they still used manual-based phone trees and a segmented ENS for emergency communications. Decision-makers realized they needed a much faster and more comprehensive mass notification system to keep up with their BC/DR plan. 

Trish Taranto, Sr. Business Continuity Analyst in the Enterprise Insurance and Business Resiliency department at Highmark Health, said, “We have employees across the country, so it’s critical to reach them quickly.”

HOW HIGHMARK IMPROVED ITS EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

Highmark Health had already tried AlertFind before temporarily shifting to another ENS. Leadership in the business resiliency department decided to switch back. AlertFind instantly gave the organization the extensive reach and speed they badly needed to ensure their BC/DR plan was up to scratch. They could also target specific groups of employees instead of sending alerts to everyone. This was a crucial feature for such a large and expansive company. 

AlertFind hasn’t only benefited Highmark Health. The hospital group was also able to implement the robust emergency communication system during a regional drill for the Southwest Hospital Coalition. In the drill, AlertFind served as the coalition’s mass notification system, sending out alerts to employees as part of the weather-themed training

LOOKING FORWARD

To sum up, your business must always be prepared to handle cybersecurity threats and disasters. AlertFind is just the tool you need to help you improve your business continuity and disaster recovery initiatives. This article focused on three companies that have used AlertFind for their emergency communications in BC/DR plans. 

These three companies would all agree that AlertFind helped them enhance their BC/DR capabilities. If you also want to increase your company’s resiliency, you can get this robust ENS through IgniteTech Unlimited. This Netflix-like subscription service also gives you access to a wide range of software solutions to improve your business communications.  

Looking to enhance your BC/DR plan with the right approach to emergency communications? Book your business continuity strategy call today with our experts.​​​​

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