24 July 2006

US National Preparedness Month: September 2006...

September 2006 is US National Preparedness month and the perfect time to manage Operational Risks both at home and your business.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross are working with a wide variety of public and private sector organizations to educate the public about the importance of emergency preparedness. Throughout September, these organizations are providing information, hosting events and sponsoring activities that disseminate emergency preparedness messages to and encourage action in their customers, members, employees, stakeholders and communities across the nation.

1SecureAudit is pleased to be coalition partners again in 2006 to help business executives better prepare their communities for “All-Hazards”. “Our goal is to provide on-going public awareness campaigns this September through our webinar series on Corporate Emergency Response Teams and Terrorism Risk Management said Peter L. Higgins, Managing Director and Chief Risk Officer at 1SecureAudit.”

The goal of the month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action. Throughout September, Homeland Security will work with a wide variety of organizations, including local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to highlight the importance of emergency preparedness and promote individual involvement through events and activities across the nation.

In order to impact preparedness on a macro level, you have to begin the process at the micro level. Business leaders start the training, awareness and readiness at home with their own family members. Reviewing the place they will all meet in an extreme emergency when they may become separated. Establishing the single point of contact out-of-state that each family member will contact in order to check-in. This step is imperative as much of the telecom networks will be unavailable on a local level for connecting phone calls. The likelihood of reaching a designated contact out of the local area is much higher.

Once the family is prepared, then move on to the business where you work. Create your own Corporate Emergency Response Team (CERT) to create readiness exercises for your community in your building, Business Park or campus. As you roll-up your business community to the local city or county level, now you can coordinate with your public community. Do you know the station number of your local fire and EMS First Responders? Do you know the name of the Captain(s) that may be on duty the day a significant event takes place in your area? If you don't, then you should.

Once the business and local community is prepared and coordinated, then move up to the metropolitan level or state level. This is where the largest catastrophes will be coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security or other federal agencies. Does your business or local community have a seat at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)? What measures are in place for you and your team to assist and collaborate with the state or federal authorities in times of crisis?

At the end of the day, it all comes back to managing operational risks. Making the right decisions in advance to preempt threats. Secondly, and simultaneously preparing for the time when "Mother Nature" or the "Suicide Terrorist" severely impacts our lives and our economy.

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