Typical business continuity and disaster recovery programs address four main areas: emergency response, business continuity, crisis communication, and security needs. While these elements are necessary components in a comprehensive preparedness plan, they are not always sufficient for effective recovery and continued sustainability of many businesses. In fact, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company estimated that more than 25 percent of businesses that close after a disaster never re-open, and 40 percent go out of business within five years.
The fifth element of crisis management is the Human Impact Preparedness Program. The "Human Impact" of disasters includes any and all aspects of daily life that are impacted by a disaster: from basic survival needs through more complex affects on people trying to resuscitate an affected business community. Recent experiences with companies in the gulf coast of the US following Hurricane Katrina demonstrated how senior management was no less vulnerable than production line staff.
To appreciate the complexity of Human Impact preparedness, one has to appreciate the complexity of humans. Recovery from disaster and crisis is not linear. Initially things seem very positive but only later, after a few weeks, the realization sets in that life has forever been changed. A robust model of Human Impact Preparedness needs to combine knowledge about people, organizations, communities, and disasters.
The process of "Human Impact Preparedness" includes three components: Organizational Assessment; Human Impact Planning; and Exercises and Trainings.