Floods, fires, hurricanes, bomb threats, shootings, illness outbreak, computer failures – these are just some of the disasters and threats for which court reporting companies must be prepared.

No, this is not an exaggeration. No business, building, or home office is immune to the threats and disaster. Think of the damage done in the United States this year from floods and fires alone. What would have happened to your court reporting company if the building was flooded or burned down? Think about the recent news about hackers taking the computer infrastructure in hospitals, businesses, and colleges hostage and demanding ransom. What is your response plan should you face such a threat?

We don’t want to dwell on worst-case scenarios but when it comes to disaster preparedness and your court reporting company, it’s time for you to start thinking, acting, and getting your business, employees, and clients protected from potential threats and disasters.

In this post, we look at what you should do before and after a disaster strikes and the technology you can use to support your disaster preparedness plan and strategy.

What to Do Before A Disaster Strikes

It’s time to abandon the common misconception held across most businesses and institutions: it won’t happen to us or we’re okay we don’t need to worry about that. The reality is that disaster and threats can happen at any time and you need to ensure that your court reporting company is prepared and protected.

To help you get thinking about disaster preparedness strategies, use this list as a way to kickstart your court reporting company emergency preparedness plan:

  • Employee contact information. Make sure that designated internal team members have quick and easy access to employee contact information. This means having home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, emergency contact phone numbers, and home addresses for each employee. In the event of a disaster or threat that prevents your employees from coming to the office or attending a courtroom trial – you need a fast and guaranteed way to contact employees.
  • Emergency action plan. Know where your team will meet in the event of a fire, flood, or other disaster. For example, have a designated meeting spot across the street safely away from a fire or in the event of flood know how and where people will get home safely.
  • Remember your IT infrastructure. Think about how easily your court reporters and other employees can still work when not able to access your office. Do your court reporters have laptops, back-up equipment, and easy access to cloud storage? In the event of a disaster that forces your court reporting company to relocate, how easy is it to regroup and maintain consistent court reporting services to your clients?
  • Document protection. Safeguarding and protecting sensitive legal documents, client information, and other critical documents must be a priority. Make sure that this information is securely store and protected and easily accessible by designated employees.

What to Do After A Disaster

So, you’ve had threat or disaster, such as a fire, IT infrastructure failure, mass shooting, illness outbreak, or other traumatic event. Hopefully you had a disaster and emergency preparedness plan in place. If not, please read this document prepared by the American Bar Association about disaster preparedness for law firms and court reporting companies.

Here’s our high level must do list post-disaster:

  • Employee contact. Talk to every employee and make sure they’re safe and secure. Use this as your chance to discuss how your employees can and should resume their court reporting duties.
  • Contact clients and partners. Make sure that everyone you work with, such as your clients, law firms, and other businesses, understand what your court reporting company has just gone through. Discuss how you’ll move forward with your professional obligations and be ready to answer their questions about the disaster and your future plans.
  • Document review. Do a thorough document review to ensure that your sensitive legal documents are safe and protected. Take this time to create another back-up of this material and determine how and where it will be stored.

Technology for Disaster Preparedness

Technology is having a huge impact on what the law firms and court reporting companies of the future look like and operate. When it comes to your disaster preparedness, sometimes the simplest technology is best:

  • Long-range walkie talkie system. Very useful should the cellular networks be overloaded or damaged.
  • Back-up generator. Be ready for a power outage with one or more back-up generators.
  • Cloud storage. Keep all secure documents, passwords, employee contact information, etc. secure and accessible in cloud storage.
  • Portable batteries. Make sure you have easy ways to keep mobile devices charged and usable.
  • Location apps. Use location apps to quickly find employees, family members, and others impacted by the disaster or threat.

Tell us about how you’ve prepared your court reporting company for a disaster or threat. Remember that hoping a disaster or threat won’t happen, is not an action plan. Be ready and prepared.