Friday, May 1, 2009

CUNA Mutual flu alert stresses continuity planning

MADISON, Wis. (4/30/09)--CUNA Mutual Group sent a RISK Alert Tuesday to its policyholders about the swine flu, emphasizing the importance of business continuity planning and disaster plans.

"News of the recent Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico and several U.S. cities raises the issue of our industry's preparedness for a pandemic flu," said the alert.

"Distinct from many disaster scenarios, the primary concern during a flu pandemic is not for the loss of equipment, operating infrastructure or facilities, but rather for your employees' health and their ability to support your credit union's operations," it said.

"It's important to ask, 'Does our business continuity and disaster plan include a pandemic flu response?'" said the alert.

It provided these guidelines:

Review your business continuity/disaster plan to determine the impact long-term illnesses would have on your operations; update your disaster plan accordingly.

Appoint a pandemic leader and/or team with defined roles and responsibilities.

Identify critical functions and employees essential to required operations by location.
Cross-train employees from multiple locations with minimal face-to-face contact to be able to fill these critical roles.

Determine which functions could be performed remotely and enable secure access.

Review personnel policies for sick leave compensation and return-to-work procedures.

Share information from public health officials and health care providers including the signs and symptoms of a specific disease outbreak and recommend prevention and control actions.
Educate your employees about proper health/hygiene procedures.
Encourage good health habits including eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, and getting sufficient rest.

Collaborate with authorities and leverage their expertise to understand potential threats; invite them to participate in your planning process.

The guidelines are mean to be a sample of activities needed to properly prepare for a pandemic flu.

(Editor's Note: CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery Solutions is sponsoring a "Pandemic Planning--What Steps Can We Take to Prepare?" webinar today at 3 p.m. ET. For more information, use the Agility/CSS resource link.)

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