Fall World 2014

Conference & Exhibit

Attend The #1 BC/DR Event!

Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

Full Contents Now Available!

DRJ Blogs

A short description about your blog
Dec 25
2012

School Children, Teachers, Firefighters and Cops - It Hurts

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Emeregency Management

Dr Tom Phelan

Children have been senselessly murdered along with school personnel, including at least a teacher and a principal.  Firefighters and cops have been ambushed.  Both incidents show the limitations of emergency planning.  As a school teacher and administrator for better than 25 years, and an instructor of firefighters and law enforcement officers at colleges and police academies, I have felt the hurt and the anguish of the most recent events.  You must have, too.

Some of you have written about your experience in business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning, not fully recognizing the lack of such plans in many schools.  I have read your comments and felt your pain.

Dec 09
2012

FEMA Stresses Partnerships Following Sandy

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Untagged 

Dr Tom Phelan

Yesterday's bulletin from FEMA was for New Jersey resident victims of Hurricane Sandy to assist them in rebuilding their homes.

"TRENTON, N.J. -- Your home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and you want to build back better. Or, maybe you have to rebuild your home completely and are looking for smart ideas to make it stronger and safer. For knowledgeable and reliable advice, look no farther than your local home improvement store.

Nov 09
2012

Taking Care of Your People in Disaster Response

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Untagged 

Dr Tom Phelan

It's about time. Someone has admitted that DR/BCP writers have ignored the personal issues of employees following a disaster when creating business continuity plans, reviewing them, or just writing about them. Eric Krell wrote in Business Finance on November 6, 2012, an article entitled "Sandy Exposes the Human Side of Continuity." I was alerted to the article by Phil Rothstein. Perhaps for Mr. Krell, Sandy was HIS first exposure to the human side of continuity. I've been teaching a unit called "Take Care of Your People" with my colleague Deidrich Towne, Jr. at DRJ conferences since 1999. We have presented lessons learned from our real experience of "people" issues associated with disaster response.

People, including employees, have routines that must be followed daily. Examples are taking care of children, pets, elderly parents, and farm animals. If you were to review Maslow's hierarchy, you wouldn't find work or career in the list of critical, life-sustaining functions. Let me give you an example. When putting together a strike plan, management employees were assigned duties requiring they work 6 days, 12-hour shifts. I got a call from a woman who said she couldn't work that many hours in a week. I told her it was a "condition of employment" for management personnel. She responded, "Dr. Phelan, three months ago my husband and I adopted a child on the condition I would not work outside the home more than 35 hours per week. If I accept the strike assignment, I will lose my child." I called her boss and set up a job-sharing arrangement to cover the duty.

Nov 04
2012

A Little Help from My Friends - Gasoline Supply Chain in Northeast

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Emeregency Management

Dr Tom Phelan

We have all heard the news that gasoline is in short supply along the east coast, especially in New York City, New Jersey and the shore of Connecticut. But why is gasoline selling at 19 cents lower per gallon in Upstate New York?

Refineries and distributors of petroleum products have a supply chain that demands they "move" product and accept new deliveries. With fewer sales along the east coast due to power outages, the supply on hand must go somewhere else. No one can purchase normal amounts of gasoline in the nation's most demanding market.

Oct 31
2012

Trunk or Treat - a story of Resilience

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Emeregency Management

Dr Tom Phelan

In Schoharie, New York, where over 200 homes were damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011, the community is demonstrating resiliency today, Halloween, in the throes of Hurricane Sandy. With so many homes, streets, sidewalks, and other potential hazards due to flooding, the community celebrated Halloween with "Trunk or Treat." Several community residents bring their vehicles to a central parking lot, decorate their trunks, tailgates or hatch backs, and invite children to "Trunk or Treat" by stopping at each vehicle. Many homes were uninhabitable in 2011, and many still are. Without safe passage along debris-laden streets in the village, the idea provides a safe and enjoyable way for children to have fun on Halloween.

This is one terrific example of resiliency. Others observed this year are the e-mails sent by insurance companies and banks to customers who may have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. My insurance agency sent me an e-mail with instructions on how to contact them and how to file a claim if damages occurred due to Hurricane Sandy. Banks have sent messages to customers indicating relaxation of due dates on credit cards if the customer loses access to either electronic or postal payments.

Oct 16
2012

DR and Crisis Management

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in ICS in the Private Sector

Dr Tom Phelan

Recently, DR/BCP professionals have sent me inquiries about how to handle crisis management or crisis communication, especially during a DR event.  DR/BCP professionals may be highly involved in managing a data or system recovery and unable to devote attention to managing the entire crisis that may result. They need crisis management professionals on their team.  It wouldn't be practical to have a crisis management professional on each DR/BCP team, but it w0uld be an excellent time to partner with the corporate or organizational crisis management/crisis communication professional.

I've done Incident Management Team training for private sector organizations, sometimes at several of their critical facilities across the nation.  The Incident Command System (ICS) model provides a framework for integrating crisis management, crisis communication and DR/BCP operations when disaster strikes.  Most private sector organizations have found ICS to be extremely helpful and affordable if it has be tailored to their business and presented by consultants who understand both the private and public sector uses of ICS.  Private sector CEOs also see the benefit in being compatible with public emergency response organizations.

Oct 10
2012

The GAP in DR/BCP/EM Technology

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Emeregency Management

Dr Tom Phelan

The GAP in DR/BCP/EM Technology

Recently I attended a concert at my grandchildren’s school in a small, rural community in Upstate New York.  A small child in the row behind me was using what appeared to me to be a tablet computer. Amazed by the use of technology, even by very young children, I had thoughts of how widespread the use of sophisticated technology had become, even in remote areas.  There have been times when I felt government agencies and some businesses assumed the presence and use of technologies to be far greater than actual.  I challenged a DHS employee on the use of GIS and various mapping capabilities, stating that rural communities lacked such capabilities. He replied that his information was just the opposite, that the use of GIS and other mapping functions was very popular and widespread.

Aug 27
2012

Haiti Revisited - Hurricane Isaac's Unnecessary Deaths

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Haiti Quake.

Dr Tom Phelan

In 2010 following the earthquake devastation in Haiti, I became concerned about the use of tarps and similar temporary shelter materials because of the strong possibility of a hurricane later that same year. Haitians were spared the any serious hurricanes in 2010 and 2011, but in 2012, they were seriously impacted by Hurricane Isaac.

What I proposed in 2010 was to use ConEx containers for temporary shelter, feeling that they were in abundance and more durable than tarps.  I shared my thoughts at DRJ in Orlando with Hector Fulgencio and Cole Emerson.  Hector was familiar with ConEx containers from his work in the shipping industry. Cole has vast experience in disaster response.  The consensus among us was that there was indeed a surplus of containers in the U.S. and the military could offload them and place them using heavy lift helicoptors. This would not necessitate using the ports in Haiti which had been seriously damaged. Since ConEx containers are transported via the sea, there would also be no need for the damaged and overcrowded airport.

Aug 20
2012

Insurance for Independent Consultants

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Untagged 

Dr Tom Phelan

Since 2002, my S-Corporation carried "Errors and Omissions" or Professional Insurance coverage. As an independent BCP/DR consultant, are you adequately insured? In 2008, my insurance carrier expanded coverage (known as the Bell endorsement) to include insurance for several crisis and emergency conditions that might create a business loss and hence a claim. The items covered may be of interest to you. They were not available in all states.

 

Aug 15
2012

California Fire Fee - It's About Time

Posted by Dr Tom Phelan in Untagged 

Dr Tom Phelan

 

California is assessing homeowners who live in vulnerable, fire-prone areas a fee to cover the cost of fire protection services, including very expensive suppression of wild fires.  It’s about time someone acted to place the cost of protecting vulnerable properties on those who own them.