16 March 2005

Who is on First?

After government officials shouted "Who is on First" the other day in Washington, DC after a biosensor alert, we are still working towards a more effective National Incident Management System. (NIMS) It's just another wake up call to remind us how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in our readiness and preparedness initiatives.

New types of unpredictable emergency disruptions can wreak havoc on any organization, its clients and the public. As a result, business crisis and continuity management has become a high priority as organizations recognize the importance of responding to an unplanned event, so that employees and personnel remain safe, critical business functions continue, and relevant people are fully informed.

Developed by the Secretary of Homeland Security at the request of the President, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) integrates effective practices in emergency preparedness and response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management. The NIMS will enable responders at all levels to work together more effectively to manage domestic incidents no matter what the cause, size or complexity.

The benefits of the NIMS system will be significant:

Standardized organizational structures, processes and procedures;

Standards for planning, training and exercising, and personnel qualification standards;

Equipment acquisition and certification standards;

Interoperable communications processes, procedures and systems;
Information management systems; and

Supporting technologies – voice and data communications systems, information systems, data display systems and specialized technologies.

The process of mitigating the risk of hazards/threats before they become disasters is similar for both natural and human-caused threats; whether you are dealing with hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or acts of conventional or digital terrorism.

Now that threats to business operations of our vital industry sectors are becoming more prevalent, organizations must plan for every type of business disruption from hardware and communication failures, to natural disasters, to internal or external acts of terrorism. During these times of emergency, where every second counts, Terrorism Risk Management can play a key role in an organization's vital communication system, and their crisis management and business continuity plans.
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