Santa Barbara Fires Cause Thousands of Displaced Workers

thomas Fire displaced workersIf you haven’t heard by now, California has been experiencing some of the most destructive wildfires in years. Recently, right to the north of our corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, the Napa and Sonoma County fires raged right through the downtowns of several neighboring cities and has left thousands of displaced workers still without a clear path back to normalcy. Now, to the north of California’s largest city, Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara fires are causing even more destruction at a record-setting pace. The largest of those blazes, the Thomas Fire, is just over the weekend now the fifth largest wildfire in California’s modern history. This unsettling trend of increased climate instability and the fallout from it on California and the world as a whole is obviously a large topic to address. There is one facet of it, however, that is something that we have a great deal of experience in addressing. Specifically, we’ve found that businesses that are able to bounce back quickly from these catastrophic events tend to all have one thing in common in that they each have a thorough Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place well before it’s too late.

Finding a Safe Place for Displaced Workers

Getting employees and families to safety is paramount in emergency situations, and because that is such an immutable priority, there’s no time to waste discussing how to show up to work the next day. That’s why a BCP is so critical to create and practice before it’s required, so that when life is at stake employees can be unencumbered by anything that isn’t absolutely essential at the time. But when the dust settles and the smoke clears, what then? For our customers across the globe who have, unfortunately, been exposed to some of the most terrible experiences due to extreme weather, fires, earthquakes, and other emergency scenarios, they have routinely outperformed their local competitors in the aftermath because they never had to worry about how to get back to business when the time was right. A BCP covers everything from chain of command to alternate staging areas during fire drills, but for our purposes, we focus on the communication aspects of one with our hosted business telephone service.

Working as a Displaced Worker

Our hosted business telephone services are all cloud-based which means they can travel wherever you go so long as there is an internet or data connection. This means that BCP planning on communications services for our Dash customers, for example, is a foregone conclusion. Any employee on a Dash system can totally recreate their office communications system from anywhere they land following displacement during an emergency event. Because the core technology that Dash customers rely on to stay connected is never housed in their offices, but rather in our multiple secure and redundant server locations, their phones never actually go down in these situations. For other companies with an on-site PBX or older, copper-wired business telephone, they have more at stake. Those businesses will be completely shut off from their business in the event of an evacuation until the property is both safe to return to and all services have been restored. And as we’ve seen in the recent Atlantic storm season, that can be weeks or months until it happens. For these companies, there is a solution, though, and that is to employ an automatic business failover system like PBX Parachute that automatically deploys at the first sight of trouble.

Landing Safely Under a PBX Parachute

PBX Parachute acts as the cloud-based telephone systems that we described above, but because it’s designed for companies that already have an on-site telephone system, it has several unique features. First of all, because it mirrors an existing telephone system that, barring an emergency event, is otherwise working satisfactorily, the rest of the time it is lying dormant for a negligible fee. Once it is triggered by any detected outage or by a manual deployment, it then only replicates the portions of a business telephone network that the users have chosen to keep operational. For some businesses that means just a few key employees or departments, for some others, it means the whole business, and others still want it to deploy to just a prepared general statement as a recording for inbound callers telling them they are experiencing an event that will keep them from the phones for a period. Whatever the configuration a business’ BCP calls for, PBX Parachute can be customized to work as well as even the most robust hosted business telephone system.

Business Continuity Planning and emergency failover are obviously massive topics that are as diverse and unique as the companies they serve. That’s why we have our BCP experts on hand around-the-clock to help customers whenever disaster strikes. Don’t wait until you’re on hold with your own telephone company in the wee hours of the night to discuss your communications plans at work. But even if you do choose the middle of the night, we’ll be here waiting for you all the same. Get in touch today to learn more.

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