Updated February 26, 2020, 4:56 PM EST

Not If, but When, Top CDC Officials Warn

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement on Tuesday urging Americans to start preparing for the inevitable spread of the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, throughout communities across the United States.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. While acknowledging the CDC’s inability to predict the severity of the spread or its impact, Dr. Messonnier made clear the CDC is “asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

Though health experts are still insisting the risk of infection for U.S. residents is low (only 53 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of February 24, 2020), the U.S. economy is nonetheless feeling the negative impacts.

How to Prepare Quickly and Effectively

Scenario-Based Table Top Exercises on Assessing Organization-Wide Continuity: Responding to a Pandemic, featuring FEMA and Public Health SMEs (Leadership).

Our team will work with your corporation’s leadership to go over what you need to do to prepare for the inevitable disruption caused by the Coronavirus. Through tabletop exercises, we will have a discussion-based session and review your team’s roles and response to a Coronavirus outbreak.

The Edward Davis Company (EDC) can develop and facilitate a simulated emergency scenario with your organization’s executives/stakeholders. The tabletop exercise will be designed to gauge the preparedness of company emergency response stakeholders, including the C-Suite, in managing emergency response operations and business continuity. We will use our Team’s expertise in emergency preparedness to make suggestions to prepare you for the disruption and recovery phases.

In-Classroom Training increases the situational awareness and preparedness of your organization and your employees for the crisis scenarios that are likely to arise in the event of a Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. EDC provides live, engaging and informative training sessions on the following topics relative to pandemic response and resiliency planning:

-Design and Implementation of Your Ongoing Risk Assessment and Management Program (Leadership)

-Crisis/Emergency Response Planning and Implementation (Leadership)

-Getting Familiar with Your Organization’s Crisis/Emergency Response Plan (Managers, Employees)

-Roles and Responsibilities During a Pandemic (Leadership, Managers, Security Personnel)

-Infection Control Procedures (Security Personnel)

-Cybersecurity Hygiene (Leadership, Managers, Employees)

Emergency/Crisis Preparedness, Continuity Planning EDC employs an all-hazards approach to crises preparedness and response planning. EDC can review and develop emergency response, evacuation and continuity of business plans in preparation for and response to a Coronavirus outbreak to:

-Mitigate the effects (fiscal and operational) of the Coronavirus on your organization.

-Designate essential personnel and establish roles, responsibilities and trigger points.

-Proactively highlight vulnerabilities, gaps in your crisis response and business continuity program and provide strategies to effectively fill those gaps before a crisis arises.

-Ensure safety, ongoing and accurate communication and effective business operations with a reduced workforce and potential remote operations.

-Ensure clarity, consistency, transparency and accountability in crisis response and business continuity planning, policies, decision-making and communications.

-Enhance your organizations overall security risk management posture by identifying vulnerabilities and providing strategies for proactive risk reduction.

-Optimize the effectiveness and interoperability of your organizations security systems (Mass Communications, Access Control, etc.).

Intelligence Monitoring for organizations and real time communication that includes data on the spread of the virus and updated information and directives from federal, state and local health agencies. EDC has federally trained analysts who coordinate various reports from federal government and ground intelligence to provide the best information to our clients.

Operational Security Officers can be deployed to supplement your organization’s existing security program efforts to monitor the safety and security of your employees, facilities and assets.

Considerations as the Coronavirus Continues to Spread

EDC guides our clients on the following continuity considerations, all of which are vital components of any organization’s pandemic emergency response planning efforts:

-Consider what the spread of the virus will mean to you and your networks and what you can do to prevent, mitigate and respond to the threats posed by this potential outbreak.

-Consider the possible financial and operational impacts of employee absences, disruption to the supply chain, market and consumer needs and identify critical activities and the employees and inputs required to maintain them.

-Support and encourage flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting or flexible work hours to reduce the number employees who must be at work at one time and/or in one specific location.

-Consider developing policies that encourage employees with cold symptoms to work from home without fear of punishment.

-Consider the circumstances under which you might decide to scale back or suspend operations and develop an organization-wide work-from-home structure.

-Consider discontinuation of non-essential travel.

-Ensure hyper-vigilance towards cyber hygiene. Look out for phishing scams. Cybercriminals are utilizing the Coronavirus and its multiple name variations as keywords to launch malicious cyberattack campaigns in the digital world.

-Proactively establish relationships with law enforcement, local first responders, hospitals, labor organizations and other key stakeholders in advance of an outbreak.

-Align your organization’s management and mitigation efforts, and security policies and procedures with best practices as promulgated by industry, CDC, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Labor (DOL) and Occupational Health and Services Administration (OSHA).

Contact The Edward Davis Company

For more information on our services or to discuss implementing any of the aforementioned methods for your organization, contact us. Our team would be happy to consult on your behalf on how to best handle the Coronavirus.


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