« Business Continuity

Even with zombies, tabletop exercises benefit emergency personnel

It's crucial for organizations of all kinds to have a thorough business continuity plan in place, ensuring that regardless of the emergency situation, business resumption will be quick.
It's crucial for organizations of all kinds to have a thorough business continuity plan in place, ensuring that regardless of the emergency situation, business resumption will be quick.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is still being felt across the East Coast. Businesses are still working toward recovery and trying to find innovative ways to keep employees connected and customers happy. This blog previously mentioned the importance of organizations ensuring that an up-to-date business continuity plan was in place, should situations like the "Frankenstorm" happen.

However, in some situations, even the contingency plans failed. According to the Federal Communications Commission, in the 10 states hit by Sandy, 25 percent of cell towers and land lines were affected by the storm. Even hospitals were left without power as backup generators failed and facilities were forced to evacuate patients to ensure their safety.

Sandy helped to underscore the importance of comprehensive risk management assessment and making sure businesses are prepared for a multitude of situations. Until recently, one catastrophic event that first responders were unlikely to have ever prepared for was a hypothetical zombie attack.

A security firm hosted a training demonstration on Halloween at the 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. According to the Associated Press, military, law enforcement and medical personnel took part in an elaborate, Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack. In the last few years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security have seized upon pop culture's interest in zombies to educate Americans on the very real importance of emergency preparedness.

Brad Barker, president and founder of Halo – the event's organizer – said that the purpose of the event was to simulate an exercise that would be beneficial in preparing for real-life emergency situations.

"We create hyper-realistic training, so you can put together a plan for a mass casualty event of any kind, whether that's seismic, meteorological, biological or somebody flies a couple planes into your building," Barker told Bloomberg Businessweek. "The zombies just make it fun."

Even with the use of the tongue-in-cheek use of the undead in this instance, preparing for emergency situations should not be taken lightly. A thorough business continuity plan will not only ensure that that a company can undergo quick business resumption after a disaster, but that employees will stay safe throughout the entire process.