Listen Up Already

Disaster Preparedness

Listen Up Already

The October 2012 Disaster Preparedness column titled “How the Cow Ate the Cabbage” referenced a frequently used Texas folk saying included by former Texas Gov. Ann Richards in her speech at the 1988 Democratic convention. The generally accepted meaning is to tell someone a truth they do not want to hear. Hopefully TMC (News - Alert) readers in the Northeast listened and acted quickly as disaster was just around the corner. 

In the past, the Northeastern U.S. including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (Tri-State Area) seldom experienced major disasters like hurricanes and massive floods. It is a good example of how individuals or businesses can be lulled into a cavalier approach to business continuity planning when things are going well. Everyone in the Northeast is now fully aware of the need for a good BC/DR plan but, unfortunately, many people and businesses suffered enormously. However, despite the massive destruction and power outages some businesses and individuals managed quite well. How did they do it?

The commonality of most companies that survived well is that they had avoided the tendency to procrastinate and got serious about putting a solid plan in place. This is not to say that everything was easy and stress-free, but business continuity was achievable. They were ready when the storms hit and implemented their BC/DR plans. As with any other business strategy, the companies with the most comprehensive plans in place faired the best.

TMC is a good example. Although 50 percent of the state’s electric customers were without power due to Hurricane Irene in 2011, TMC remained fully operational. The same held true in 2012 when the Tri-State Area was hit with Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter followed 10 days later when many (including one of the column’s authors) were still without electrical power and other normal services for weeks. 

The good news for company planners is that advances in communications, cloud technology and converged messaging platforms make BC implementations more affordable and easier than ever. Many of these components will also reduce overhead, make operations more efficient and add to the bottom-line immediately. Therefore, the old BC/DR constraint of having to sell it to management is no longer applicable. 

So listen up already and get started.

Max Schroeder (News - Alert) is vice president emeritus of FaxCore Inc. ( ). Rich Tehrani is the CEO and group editor-in-chief at TMC, and conference chairman of ITEXPO (News - Alert).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi