In an emergency meeting Monday, the World Health Organization upgraded the influenza pandemic alert phase to a Phase 4. Phase 4 is defined as a phase of sustained human-to-human transmission that can cause “community-level outbreaks,” so after the last few days, this came as no surprise. Though a full-blown pandemic is not yet inevitable, the upgrade from Phase 3 to Phase 4 represents a significantly heightened likelihood of such an event.
As addressed in emails to be sent out to GraVoc business continuity and information security customers, it is recommended that organizations such as banks and credit unions start taking significant precautions immediately in response to the upgrade from Phase 3 to Phase 4. As many cases of the pandemic event have already taken place in North America and specifically the United States, taking the following actions is a high priority:
- Amid employees’ pandemic fears, your organization should take appropriate measures to cope with employee absenteeism, such as considering a skeleton crew roster and changes to telecommuting and sick leave policy.
- Provide customers and employees with flu prevention/hygiene-related products in each location.
- Consider the consequences of public panic, such as increased demand for products and services and potential interrupted service from vendors, and make plans accordingly.
- Review plans and procedures for closing a location should the pandemic event strike the workplace.
- Remain aware of the current developments of swine flu through news sources or other organizations.
- Inform customers about ways they can conduct business with the organization electronically.
For more information or advice on how to maintain business continuity, please do not hesitate to contact the GraVoc Associates Information Security team at 978-538-9055. GraVoc, based in Peabody, MA is celebrating fifteen years of business in the Boston area, and has many years’ experience helping clients design business continuity plans and pandemic event policies that have gained the strong approval of regulatory agencies such as the FDIC and NCUA. For more information on the company, please visit www.gravoc.com, and for continued updates on the swine flu situation with specific attention to business continuity efforts, please consult the GraVoc News Blog at http://gravoc.blogspot.com.