Formal notification standards should be developed and integrated into the business continuity planning process. Various communication methods, such as pagers, satellite phones, cell phones, e-mail, or two-way radios, can be used to promptly notify employees and applicable third parties of a disaster situation. Comprehensive notification standards should address the maintenance and distribution of contact lists that include primary phone numbers, emergency phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and physical addresses of institution personnel, vendors, emergency services, transportation companies, and regulatory agencies. As part of this process, employee evacuation plans should be documented to ensure that financial institution management knows where employees plan to relocate and how to contact employees during an emergency. Reporting or calling locations should also be established to ensure that institution personnel are accounted for and that employees are trained to understand post-disaster communication procedures.
Various methods can be used to distribute this information, such as wallet cards, Intranet postings, e-mail messages, cell phone text messages, and calling trees. Many financial institutions work with their human resources departments to ensure that accurate contact records are properly updated and that personal information is securely maintained. Management should ensure that contact information is readily accessible during a disaster by maintaining copies at off-site locations.
Notification standards should also include an awareness program to ensure that customers, service providers, and regulators know how to contact the institution if normal communication channels are inoperable. Financial institution management should designate a media contact to communicate with these outside parties and employees should be properly trained to refer any inquiries to appropriate personnel.