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Oct 14
2014

Should we be planning for an Ebola Pandemic and what should we plan for?

Posted by Lorna Leslie in Business Continuity Plans , Business Continuity Planning

Lorna Leslie

Charlie Maclean-Bristol, FBCI, discusses whether the time has come for business continuity managers to make contingency plans for an Ebola pandemic.

Spain is now dealing with the first case of direct infection of Ebola in Western Europe; the first Ebola death has occurred in the United States; and the World Health Organization has warned that ‘Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three worst-affected countries and is accelerating in almost all settings’. So has the time come for business continuity managers to make contingency plans for a possible future Ebola pandemic? I think the answer to this question is, yes, we should be.

I am not suggesting that you immediately go out to the supermarket and buy lots of tinned food and water, barricade the house, be prepared to operate on battery power and bottled gas and then lie low. 

What I am suggesting is that we should be quietly thinking about how a possible Ebola pandemic might affect our organization; thinking through what an Ebola plan might look like; and monitoring the situation to ensure that you are ready to react if the situation escalates further.

So what at this stage should business continuity managers be doing?

1. One of the first tasks we should be doing as business continuity people is looking at what our possible exposure to Ebola is. What is our staff exposure to the disease, do we have staff travelling in areas, which have had cases of Ebola? As the disease spreads further, which most commentators are saying that it will do, then cases of Ebola may arise in a variety of places. We may have to react quickly if our staff are in the same area or they may be stranded by a country travel ban. 

2. What is our supply chain exposure to the disease and does it involve West Africa? Again, like staff travelling, as the disease spreads and turns up in expected areas then it may affect our supply chain. 

3. If the disease was to take hold in our country how would it affect our organization and would it create more work for us or less? If we work in an organization that would be responding to a pandemic (for example healthcare services) or are a supplier to such an organization, then it is likely our workload will increase. If our organization supplies essential services or part of the country’s ‘critical infrastructure’ such as power, food, water, etc. then we will be under a lot of pressure from government to keep working. Whilst if our organization does not supply something critical then we can perhaps temporarily close down our organization without a major impact beyond our own employees. Any contingency planning should reflect how it affects the individual organization!

4. Once we understand our exposure, then we should be engaging with senior managers in our organization and discussing our organization’s exposure and what action we should be taking at the moment. It we have no exposure then perhaps we should be agreeing to continue to monitor the situation. We may want to agree at this stage what sort of events might trigger further action. If we have a larger exposure then perhaps we should start some contingency planning and engaging with those parts of the business or people who may be at risk.

5. I think at this stage it is very important that we are not seen to panic or to overreact, as this might undermine any other contingency planning for other events; may undermine the credibility of the individuals involved in contingency planning; and may undermine any further escalation within the organization if this is required. Especially if there is a risk to our organization, some measured communication to staff informing them of appropriate risk reduction measures to take, any travel bans and what to do if they think they have been in contact with someone with the disease may help reassure them that you are thinking about the risk and taking appropriate action.

6. It may be appropriate for your organization to carry out some contingency planning to cover scenarios such as loss of a key supplier; if a staff member becomes infected; or if parts of your organization were quarantined. This may involve dusting off influenza pandemic plans and other contingency plans and seeing how appropriate they are in response to Ebola and amending the plans accordingly. I suspect if there was a full pandemic, government would in the main very much dictate the response and precautions to be taken by businesses and individuals.

7. I think, in the end, if we do nothing else we should monitor the situation on a day by day basis; so that we can react quickly if Ebola might, or is likely to, have an impact on our organization. 


The author
Charlie Maclean-Bristol, FBCI, FEPS, Director of Training, PlanB Consulting. PlanB Consulting is able to provide continuity planning risk assessments, advice and contingency plans for any organization that has an exposure to Ebola risk. www.planbconsulting.co.uk

Oct 08
2014

We need better checklists.

Posted by Annie Searle in Advice From A Risk Detective

Annie Searle

The Dallas hospital treating the Ebola patient has just announced that the patient died.

The Liberian public health and airport security personnel in Liberia did their jobs, and checked outgoing passengers at three distinct checkpoints.  But airport personnel can do little when patients lie or the patient didn't know that what was thought to be malaria was actually Ebola.

Oct 08
2014

Ebola - The Classic Creeping Crisis

Posted by Lorna Leslie in Business Continuity

Lorna Leslie
This week Charlie discusses how the Ebola crisis is creeping up on all of us. 
 
 
The situation in West Africa, with the ongoing spread of Ebola, bears all the classic symptoms of a ‘creeping’ or ‘rising tide’ crisis.

In Tolly’s Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Management Principles and Practice (edited by Lakha & Moore, 2004) a rising tide crisis is described as a: “Problem which creeps up gradually, such as occurs in the case of organised crime, corruption, a developing infectious disease epidemic or a steady stream of refugees into a country. There is no clear starting point for the crisis and the point at which it becomes a crisis may only be clear in retrospect.”

At present the disease is out of control in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The latest news from the BBC says that in Sierra Leone there are five new cases of Ebola every hour and that a total of 765 new cases were reported in the West African state in the last week alone.

Sep 26
2014

What can the Scottish Referendum teach us about business continuity?

Posted by Lorna Leslie in Preparedness , Business Continuity

Lorna Leslie

This week Charlie discusses the Scottish referendum results.

 

Aug 27
2014

Recipe for Recovery: A Cookbook for a Winning Business Continuity Program

Posted by Linda Laun in DR , Disaster Recovery , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity Management , Business Continuity

Linda Laun

Food is a universal language. So is man’s need to survive. Whether in the business world or the kitchen we need a simple recipe for business continuity success.  In this four part series I’ll introduce you to the four basic courses necessary when cooking up an appetizing and rewarding business continuity program. This week the focus is on doing what’s good for us…exercising and eating our veggies!

Aug 25
2014

DRJ Fall World: Thanks to our Sponsors

Posted by Vicki Thomas in DRJ Fall World

Vicki Thomas

DRJ Fall World is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to turn our attention to the companies who help us ensure we can provide you with a top-notch learning and networking experience.

Gold Sponsor: Send Word Now: Headquartered in New York City, and founded as a direct result of personal experiences during 9/11, Send Word Now is the leading worldwide provider of on-demand alerting for crisis communication. The company’s easy-to-use, web-based emergency notification solutions and mobile applications are today utilized by businesses, government agencies, universities and non-profit organizations to ensure fast, effective and two-way communication when it is needed the most. Send Word Now's enterprise-class and award-winning notification service is capable of transmitting tens of thousands of voice and text messages in minutes, while ensuring a full audit trail for after-action reporting and follow-up. Its conferencing and workflow solutions keep everyone informed and connected to the people and information necessary for safety and resilience. At Send Word Now, a Silver Sponsor of DRJ Spring World 2014 and Gold Sponsor of DRJ Fall World 2014, every message counts.

Aug 22
2014

DRJ Fall World: What You Need to Know

Posted by Vicki Thomas in DRJ Fall World

Vicki Thomas

As a reader of the DRJ blog, you know that we're busy getting ready for DRJ Fall World. Our 51st conference is happening very soon so we thought it would be useful to remind you of the information you need to have a successful conference experience.

When: September 7 -10, 2014

Aug 18
2014

Three Critical Pitfalls in Data Backup and Restoration

Posted by John Pearring in disaster recovery plan , data storage , data protection disaster recovery , business continuity strategy , business continuity data protection

John Pearring

Three Critical Pitfalls in Data Backup and RestorationCorporate executives largely understand the importance of backups. Even though businesses recognize why they need data protection only a few have implemented a seamless backup, archive and disaster recovery system. Why? The lack of time, resources and energy appear on the surface to be the problem. Too many other IT and datacenter issues get in the way. At the source, however, the problem may simply be repeating pitfalls that foil successful implementations.

Here are three of the ultimately game-ending pitfalls that companies have experienced when implementing data backup and restoration incorrectly. These problems take the wind out of the sails for an IT datacenter.

Aug 15
2014

Recipe for Recovery: A Cookbook for a Winning Business Continuity Program

Posted by Linda Laun in Untagged 

Linda Laun

Food is a universal language. So is man’s need to survive. Whether in the business world or the kitchen we need a simple recipe for business continuity success. The second “course” of this four part series takes a look at how picking the right strategy for your business continuity plan is key for its success. Also, to help deliver the “main course” I’ve invited a special guest chef -  IBM’s own, Chef Watson. 

Aug 12
2014

DRJ Fall World: Pre-Conference Courses

Posted by Vicki Thomas in DRJ Fall World

Vicki Thomas

Don't know if you've heard the news but DRJ Fall World is just around the corner - September 7 - 10 in San Diego. We've fine-tuned our agenda, have a got a great line-up of industry experts to lead the numerous sessions, and we're rolling out the red carpet during our hospitality events. 

And to top things off, we've extended the $100 registration savings discount to August 14. This means you have two more days to take advantage of the discounted registration fee.