In the past year alone, a number of significant events have occurred that have had implications and impact on global and local business. When the bombing in Brussels occurred, the airport was shut down for a significant period of time. What if you had business travelers in Brussels, or needed to ship product through that airport? Zika virus seemed to emerge from nowhere, and suddenly the fear of mosquito-borne illness took on mammoth proportions. Do you have employees and business operations in Brazil or Puerto Rico? What if business travelers to affected areas contract Zika virus? What if that business traveler is pregnant? How will you deal with this? How will you prevent or minimize exposure? Do you have the communication systems and resources in place for your company to anticipate, respond, and recover from the threats of a constantly changing landscape?
Business today must not only be able to respond to an emergency, but must also be aware of the situations that can cause business interruption and take steps to mitigate them. What does it mean to be "prepared" for all hazards and to be resilient as an enterprise? What process should be in place on an ongoing basis to decrease risk from external threats to the business? Who should be on the "team," and what is the role of the health and safety professional in the process? This paper will address the basic elements of an all-threats preparedness strategy, the steps to achieve sustainable internal systems to anticipate and respond, and the essential role of the health and safety professional. The difference between preparedness, emergency response, and business continuity will be clarified. Businesses must have plans and teams in place that can flexibly respond to whatever event occurs, and base their process on previously agreed-upon principles. Stakeholder communication, roles and responsibilities, and tools to protect employees and company assets, must be in place before an event is active.