THE MAGAZINE

Germ of an Idea

By Sherry Harowitz, Editor-In-Chief

After a spate of worldwide catastrophes over the past few years, disaster recovery firms have used the experiences to learn lessons about how to improve their response and operations—and what victimized businesses can do to help themselves prepare and react. Companies have conducted post event interviews with staffers to glean insight into what can be done in the future, and to correct past mistakes.

Kenyon International Emergency Services is now equipping its teams with on-site medical doctors and mental health professionals after working at the site of the Thai tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Kenyon has also learned the value of cash access via high credit-card reserves in such situations, along with a solid logistics network that allows it to resupply its teams on the ground 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Agility Recovery Solutions has begun to call clients ahead of impending disasters to warn them of necessary precautions. The firm has shied away from placing staffers in disaster areas until after the danger has passed, and is now making sure it has multiple suppliers of equipment and services so as not to get caught short.

Dewberry professional services firm has begun sending housing teams into areas such as the Katrina hurricane zone to assist staffers in finding accommodations. Many firms are turning down client requests that would put workers in unacceptably risky situations.

Companies are advised to cushion the impact of disasters by having contingency plans that have a clear objective, that involve everyone associated with the business, and that take many types of risk into consideration.

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