Disaster Preparedness Checklist

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST

Preferred Technology Solutions can help you prepare your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan. Please contact us to discuss your readiness and formulate a plan. The importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. Please look over the following checklist and let us know how we may help you to prepare your business in the event of such an occurrence.

• Have a plan to provide emergency notification to all employees, clients, visitors and customers in an emergency.

• Document a timeline for workplace preparation and closure. Consider the safe shut down or removal of servers and other equipment. Allow time for employees to prepare their families and take care of personal matters as well. Allow enough time for them to execute their personal preparedness plans. (Encourage them to have one and to practice it with their families.)

• Develop a phone redirection strategy should your phone service be interrupted. For example, does your main line automatically roll to a cell phone or external land line 5 to 10 miles from your main facility? Or, can it be remotely be set to roll to another line? Do you know how to program your system do this? If not, our certified engineers can help.

• Assure your employees know where to go to take cover in the event of a tornado. Unlike a hurricane or tropical storm, a tornado may develop almost without warning, appearing within minutes and leaving little time to react. Winds can exceed 200 mph causing enormous damage in its path. Basements and storm shelters are the safest. Otherwise, the interior 1st floor hallway or interior room away from windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. For outdoor work avoid trailers and automobiles. The best place to take cover is in a water free ditch. In all cases it is best to be covered by a mattress, blankets or heavy towels.

• Contract PTS to provide a location for recovery should your facility be damaged or inaccessible. We can provide work space and rapid replacement of servers, PCs and other business essential hardware and software.

• Assure all important electronic and paper documents are copied and stored at a safe off-site location.

• Provide each employee and critical partner with a binder of your disaster plan including their specific responsibilities and a list of home and cell phones of employees and critical partners. Review and update the contact information quarterly. Communication following a disaster is critical. Establish a communication plan that will work regardless of the nature of the disaster. Consider a secondary toll-free number or website that is hosted outside of your region. Instruct employees on when, how, and what to communicate through these channels following a disaster.

• Train on the process to assure critical employees and partners now what will be expected of them. For example, you may need IT staff within hours after a disaster to reestablish your systems.

• Store water, nonperishable food, first-aid supplies, generators, cleaning supplies, batteries, flashlights, and other necessities you anticipate maybe needed.

• If travel to your facility or to remote locations will be needed during the recovery phase, know the airline scheduling options and review them quarterly.

• Contract hotel and meal arrangements that will be required.

• Develop a plan to allow your payroll, benefits, and HR functions to operate during a disaster, after a disaster, or during any period in which access to your workplace is restricted.

• Establish a plan for safe for re-entry into each facility following a disaster. A third-party inspector may be necessary to verify safety.

• Regularly conduct drills to assure everyone knows where to go and that the phone and other documented processes work.

• Be sure this information is in your on-boarding procedure.

5 Ways to Make Your Keyboard Easier to Use

By used with permission from Microsoft at Home

For most people, the keyboard is the main way to enter information into and control their computer. But are you controlling your keyboard, or is your keyboard controlling you?

If you make typing mistakes or find your keyboard a bit uncomfortable, it’s not hard to correct those problems. Here’s how to quickly and easily change your keyboard settings and comfort options.

1. Get to know your keyboard
Even if you’ve been using a PC for a long time, there may be features on your keyboard you don’t know about. Take a moment to get to know your keyboard so you can be more efficient when you’re working.

2. Change keyboard settings
Once you’ve gotten more familiar with your keyboard, there are a few settings you can change to help you work more smoothly.

You can alter:

  • How long you need to press a key before the keyboard character starts repeating.
  • The speed at which keyboard characters repeat, which helps you to avoid typing errors.
  • The rate at which the mouse pointer blinks, which can help its visibility.

3. Take shortcuts 
Even if you’re a whiz with the mouse for Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP, keyboard shortcuts are typically a more efficient way to work. They’re called shortcuts because they reduce multiple clicks into one quick press of keys, like hitting a chord on a piano.

Getting to know a few keyboard shortcuts for the things you do all the time, like saving or closing files, can make using your PC much easier and faster.

Here are just a few popular keyboard shortcuts.

Press this To do this
Windows logo key Open the Start menu
ALT+TAB Switch between open programs or windows
CTRL+S Save the current file or document (works in most programs)
CTRL+C Copy the selected item
CTRL+Z Undo an action
Windows logo key +F1 Display Windows Help and Support
ESC Cancel the current task
Application key Open a menu of commands related to a selection in a program. Equivalent to right-clicking the selection.

For more, see the detailed list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Note: shortcuts for Windows 7 are the same as those listed for Windows Vista.

4. Make it easier to press multiple keys
Do you find it difficult to press multiple keys at once? For example, if pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL is an acrobatic feat, you can set up Sticky Keys. With Sticky Keys you can hit one key at a time in a keyboard shortcut. You can even set it to make a noise so you know it’s working.

You can set up Sticky Keys in Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP. (Hint: Press your “SHIFT” key 5 times in a row, then click on the link, to get going with Sticky Keys in Windows 7 or Windows Vista.)

5. Find a comfortable keyboard
It might also be time for you to evaluate the ergonomics of your desktop. Microsoft offers a full line of Natural and Comfort Curve ergonomic keyboards to ensure you’re comfortable when you’re working on your computer. Having the right keyboard can really make a difference!

Tips for using your keyboard properly
If a new keyboard isn’t in your future, be sure to use your current keyboard properly to avoid soreness or injury to your wrists, hands, and arms. This is particularly important if you use your computer for long periods of time.

Curious about how to create a more ergonomic work space for yourself? Check out these tips to help you work more comfortably and reduce your risk of painful injuries or disorders.

Here are some general tips to help you avoid problems:

  • Place your keyboard at elbow level, with your upper arms relaxed at your sides.
  • Center your keyboard in front of you. If your keyboard has a numeric keypad, you can use the spacebar as the centering point.
  • While typing, use a light touch and keep your wrists straight.
  • When you’re not typing, relax your arms and hands.
  • Take short breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Type with your hands and wrists floating above the keyboard, so that you can use your whole arm to reach for distant keys instead of stretching your fingers.
  • Avoid resting your palms or wrists on any type of surface while typing. If your keyboard has a palm rest, use it only during breaks from typing.