27 August 2011

Virginia, USA: Bulls-Eye for Operational Risks...

The Mid-Atlantic of the United States is experiencing the Operational Risks associated with two natural disasters within the span of one week. Virginia has been a bulls eye with an earthquake and a major hurricane.


[boolz-ahy] Show IPA
noun, plural -eyes.
the circular spot, usually black or outlined in black, at the center of a target marked with concentric circles and usedin target practice.
a shot that hits this.
the center or central area of a military target, as of a town or factory, in a bombing raid.
a missile that strikes the central area of a target.
the coordinates or instance of aiming and firing a missile that results in its hitting the center of a target.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Bob. McDonnell has declared a state of emergency for areas affected by Tuesday’s earthquake that shook people from Georgia to Canada.

McDonnell said Friday in a news release that damage from the 5.8 magnitude earthquake appears to be greater than initial reports. He says the damage has been exacerbated by aftershocks.

McDonnell also says damaged structures could be weakened further by high winds from Hurricane Irene, which is approaching the East Coast.

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With Hurricane Irene approaching, Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power are readying repair crews and preparing equipment for emergency restoration work over the next several days. The company is asking its customers, especially those in coastal areas, to take steps to brace for the storm.

"This storm has serious potential to cause widespread damage," said Rodney Blevins, vice president-Distribution Operations for Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power. "We are geared up to handle any situation as quickly and safely as possible. We are treating Hurricane Irene seriously, and we urge our customers to monitor local weather forecasts for changing conditions in order to remain safe."

The Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) and Business Continuity Plans (BCP) for the governments and businesses are in full force and it all began without notice. The 5.8 quake shook Washington, DC and many at the Pentagon were having deja vu moments from that morning on 9/11. What was that? How could it be an earthquake?

Soon there after, people began streaming out of buildings, into the metro stations or jumped in their cars to try and get out of the city. All the while on their Blackberry or PDA cell phones. One seemed to be working better than the other. BBM was not interrupted.

Hurricane Irene is still approaching the Washington, DC area at this moment, so we don't know the total impact yet. However, if your business runs on IT systems and most do, hopefully you have already been exercising your contingency plans. It could be days for some areas to have power fully restored.

The business resilience factor is something that can not be under estimated in these times of greater natural disasters and other increasing interruptions to business operations. The professionals associated with keeping your business running and the systems online should be several doors down from the CEO. Think about it. Where do you have the person(s) located who are responsible for the lifeblood and health of your enterprise? Far too often we find that the business leadership is still more than shouting range away from those they rely on to keep the operations running and the organization safe. How is that working for you?

The American Red Cross has a new site that may be more for the small to medium enterprise (SME), but that makes up the majority of businesses in the United States. It is worth a look to help you get your SME in ready for the next earthquake or hurricane:

The American Red Cross Ready Rating™ program is a free, self-paced program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. When you join and become a member, you'll complete a 123-point self assessment of your level of preparedness, gain access to tips and best practices information, and commit to improving your score each year to maintain membership.
Members complete a 123-point self assessment of their level of preparedness, gain access to tips and best practices, and commit to improving their score each year to maintain membership. The 123 Assessment has been aligned with the federal government's private sector preparedness standards (PS-Prep).

If you are a business that wants to stay in business, these questions and assessment could save you from business failure. It determines your emergency preparedness efforts in terms of commitment, knowledge of hazard vulnerability, emergency planning, plan implementation and community resiliency. 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster.

How quickly your company can get back to business after a terrorist attack, a tornado, a fire, or a flood often depends on emergency planning done today. While the Department of Homeland Security is working hard to prevent terrorist attacks, the lessons of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks demonstrate the importance of being prepared.

When you also consider that the number of declared major disasters nearly doubled in the 1990's compared to the previous decade, preparedness becomes an even more critical issue. Though each situation is unique, any organization can be better prepared if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures in place, and practices for emergencies of all kinds.

And when your organization has had a near miss, not out of business but severely impacted, then it is time to even move up to "The Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs - NFPA 1600.

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