In November, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) released a new version of their informational handbook specific to Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Ironically, the new handbook amended its content and no longer includes a section specific to pandemic planning—just as the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, begins to cause immense concern for businesses globally. The World Health Organization declared the situation a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern,’ and pandemic planning should be an ongoing process in anticipation of the evolution of events surrounding the COVID-19.
Currently, institutions should be concentrating on the preventive measures included in their pandemic planning, especially regarding proper hygiene and etiquette surrounding minimizing the spread of illness. These include, but are not limited to:
- Monitoring developments related to viral outbreaks which are published by public health organizations and distributing updates to employees as appropriate
- Initiating internal communications that lead to implementation of the Pandemic Response Plan
- Ensuring an adequate supply of sanitary items such as facial tissue, hand hygiene products, and disinfectant wipes
- Providing information to all employees on, as well as ensuring implementation of, practices that are recommended by public health officials to reduce the spread of infection, including:
- Education on proper hygiene/cough etiquette
- Frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based cleaners
- Removal and disposal protocols for tissues and other items that could harbor the virus
- Limiting travel to geographic areas reporting increased incidents of the virus
Monitoring media outlets managed by public health organizations will assist organizations in staying informed on important details of the situation, allowing for proper preparation and response activities to be enforced as necessary.
If you need assistance with pandemic planning, including a review or performing a tabletop/simulation test, or for additional details regarding the new FFIEC handbook specific to BCP, please contact Tracy Hall at [email protected] or 413-726-6884.