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  5. The Importance of a Business Continuity System for Local Governments as Revealed by Previous Disaster Responses

2011 Vol.3
The Importance of a Business Continuity System for Local Governments as Revealed by Previous Disaster Responses


Only a handful of local governments have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place. Regional disaster prevention plans do not enable local governments to respond fully to major disasters because the plans do not assume cases of resource constraints in which, for example, local government employees cannot be gathered sufficiently or damaged facilities and equipment cannot be used. In such situations, it is important to collect, analyze, and organize information on disaster damage and various other information as quickly as possible and then prepare and execute responses. Key to achieving this is resource management and information processing.
Many plans for emergency disaster response measures under regional disaster prevention plans merely provide a list of operations to be executed at the time of a disaster. It would be effective in the response to actual disasters to have prioritized the operations against a timeline. Also, it is possible to add to the plan a section on information processing, which would contribute to the clarification of the content, source, and receiver of information exchanged between different operations. These preparations would make it possible, at least, to engage in response measures quickly without confusion at the time of a major disaster.
There are four principles in creating a BCP: avoid making the act of creating the plan itself the goal; create a plan for all agencies; ensure the safety of the employees; and consider the utilization of various measures under normal circumstances. To create the BCP it is necessary to (1) first identify possible resource constraints by concretely imagining the effects of a disaster on facilities, equipment, and employees; (2) then propose response measures, taking into account conditions experienced by other local governments when they were hit by a disaster as well as their responses; (3) choose critical operations to be implemented with priority under resource constraints; and (4) lastly clarify and execute preparations and actions to be completed under normal circumstances in order to be ready to implement the response measures