This standalone software program is intended to allow users to model disaster scenarios for drill planning and to use as an education resource. The EMCAPS Model allows you to estimate casualties arising from biological (Anthrax, Plague, Food Contamination), chemical (blister, nerve and toxic agents) radiological (dirty bomb) or explosive (IED) attacks.
When your whole life is destroyed, can anything ever be the same? Should it be? When the storm came, and nature reached right into New York City — Breezy Point, Queens — and leveled what had up to then been a hidden working-class beach paradise, it revealed both breathtaking instances of ordinary heroism, and the oldest impulses of the human heart.
When seeking to place an attack like the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing into context, it is helpful to classify the actors responsible, if possible.
IED training video teaches police and other to recognize and respond to Improvised Explosive Devices
“IEDs & VBIEDs” is an IED training video for police and other emergency personnel about preparing for and responding to Improvised Explosive Devices. It is informative and exciting to watch and was produced after recent history showed that IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and VBIEDs (vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices) are often the terrorists’ weapon of choice. It is likely that these attacks would be carried out in non- battlefield environments.
It will take an all-hazards tactic, additional campus safety personnel and a new approach to building design for schools to become more hardened against the threat of an active shooter on campus.
Boston Marathon Bombing: Are We Facing the “New Normal”?
By Kathryn Kavicky
On April 15th, the 3:00 p.m. news out of Boston on Patriots Day snapped us into the new normal of reality. Our vulnerabilities were once again exposed and our abilities to survive the assault were again challenged. The Boston Marathon Bombing was the next wake-up call reminding us that we need to expect the unexpected.
Two of our authors – Jim Burtles, expert on emergency evacuation planning, and Vali Hawkins Mitchell, a certified traumatologist, speak out today with their uniquely focused take on the events in Boston.
In her work as a counselor and expert on dealing with trauma, Vali Hawkins Mitchell realistically but optimistically sees the unfolding of yesterday’s event as “a means to turn the disaster into something meaningful. The alternative is to let it take us to hell. Because there will be another one for someone tomorrow and we need to prepare to be present for them also.”
Writing from London, Jim Burtles says, “There are echoes in my mind of the World Trade Centre, which triggered me to devote my time, skill, energy, and experience into trying to solve the problems of preparing to get people to safety whenever disaster strikes.
“Here in the UK, my family was sharing a mood of sympathy for the aches and pains of my daughter who had just completed her first marathon run in the quiet and peaceful seaside town of Brighton.
“A few hours later we were shaken out of our own rather self-centered concerns when we heard the appalling news of what had just happened in Boston. Our hearts went out to the competitors. We went through some mixed and difficult emotions as we tried to empathise with the crowds around the finish line; their worst nightmares had just come true.
“Rapidly the news channels made us aware of the impact on the people of Boston who had been expecting to celebrate Patriots Day. We wondered how on earth they would cope with the trauma unfolding in their midst. For most of them it would be depressing and for some it would be almost unbearable.
“Everybody seems to agree that we can, and should, plan for such unexpected, unpleasant and dangerous events. Some even go so far as making plans but very few practice them. I was very pleased to notice how well the local emergency services responded to this incident. Clearly, these guys had planned, trained and practiced to ensure that they were able to protect their community under the most harrowing of circumstances.
“It reminded me of an impromptu staging of ‘Hamlet’, tragic but moving. Such an excellent performance indicates to me that they had done rather more than just memorize the script. They had been through many and varied rehearsals. They were the heroes of the day.
“Emergency planning techniques and procedures proved their worth, minimizing the human costs on this tragic occasion.”
Vali Hawkins Mitchell speaks of the importance of good management and trained volunteers in her recent book, describing a scene that is eerily similar to the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon: “After a catastrophic event, it is often the quiet, centered, and calm voice during the event that a victim remembers. A calm voice of compassion that is resonating with reason and security is the loudest guiding force when madness is swirling noisily about, chaos is ripping apart the fabric of the known, and cacophony is jumbling up signals and signs that have before this moment made sense.”
For us, the most heartening thing about the “new normal” of these unexpected terrorist attacks is the way, in any city or town or village, strangers create instant community to provide “the calm voice of compassion” that is needed.
Ten Signs of a Good Emergency Evacuation Program: A Checklist
By Jim Burtles
A good emergency evacuation program takes responsibility for people from the time the alarm goes off or the emergency occurs until they are back at their desks, in their homes, or being cared for in an emergency shelter, hospital, or some other place of safety.
- Single point of responsibility: Someone responsible and accountable for the safe evacuation of everybody who may be on the premises.
- Trained marshals in all areas: People can rely upon well trained helpers to guide them and assist them to leave the premises in safety.
- Well marked exit and escape routes:All exit routes, exits, and escape routes are clearly marked and indicated to suit the needs of the population.
- Multiple safe assembly areas:A number of alternate safe assembly areas are easily accessible for everybody who may be on the premises.
- Protected exit points: All exit points are protected by a stout canopy to protect evacuees from falling masonry and other debris as they leave the premises.
- Visitor awareness program: All visitors to the premises are properly informed about evacuation procedures and planned drills or exercises.
- Published regular exercise and testing program: A regular schedule of exercises, tests, and drills is in place to ensure all assistants are fully trained and that everyone is kept informed about and required to participate in the tests.
- Effective personnel accounting procedure: Tried and tested procedures are in place to ensure that everybody is properly accounted for in an emergency.
- Targeted emergency messaging systems: Messaging system ensures that all people on the premises are aware of an emergency situation and how they should respond.
- Post-incident support in place: Support and assistance will be available to all those who may have been affected mentally, physically, or spiritually.
Jim Burtles, KLJ, CMLJ, FBCI, is a well known leader in Business Continuity Management spanning 35+ years and 24 countries. He is a founding fellow of the Business Continuity Institute; received the Freedom of the City of London Award in 1992; and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by his peers in 2001. He is the author of EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANNING FOR YOUR WORKPLACE: From Chaos to Life-Saving Solutions, to be published in May, 2013.
Vali J. Hawkins Mitchell, Ph.D., LMHC, holds a Doctorate in Health Education and Masters degree in Applied Psychology and is a Certified Traumatologist. She is considered a leading authority in the growing field of Emotional Continuity Management and a highly regarded public speaker, author, consultant, and educator. www.ImproVizion.com. She is the author of The Cost of Emotions in the Workplace: The Bottom Line Value of Emotional Continuity Management.
Tags: Boston Marathon Bombing
Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) 2013 are now launched
Monday 18th March saw the official launch of the Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) 2013, the independent body of knowledge for good Business Continuity (BC) practice worldwide.
Learning from experience, including that of other countries, is an important element of our knowledge about earthquakes and other disasters that affect major urban areas. The United States can learn from a recent report that assessed the response to the damaging earthquake that affected Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury Region in New Zealand in February 2011.
No no no no no no no. Things like this are supposed to happen somewhere else. Not in my backyard.
As I sit in my office flipping the remote between the local and national news channel, with five browser windows open watching real-time updates, this time it’s Sandy Hook, Connecticut – not Columbine, not Virginia Tech, not someplace far away.
My best friends live down the street from that elementary school (they’re okay). It’s barely a ten-minute drive from my house. “Second worst school shooting in American history.” “Worse than Columbine.”
As I write this on a Friday afternoon, I hear on the TV news that close to 30 people died, including 18 children. I can’t say I should be surprised if or when I learn that I know somebody who was affected, but of course I will be.
What happened this morning is beyond horrendous. Innocent children and adults slaughtered.
Strange thoughts, totally inappropriate, pop up. Will it hurt property values? Amazing how the human brain works sometimes, probably some kind of an internal protective mechanism. I’ll go with that.
Less strange thoughts: what could I do about this? What should I be doing right now? If I knew any of the families affected maybe I could support them, but I’m guessing right now they’re overwhelmed with immediate support and, besides, no names have been released; later on, when the urgency has subsided and I know who they are, then I will offer anything I can.
Take a breath. Realize that 30+ years of my career has been about dealing with stuff that happens which nobody wants to have happen. I get paid for dealing with and preventing ugly stuff for businesses, but the underlying process has a lot in common. Reboot back into professional mode.
What I’ve observed so far from various sources is that the school, police and emergency services appear to have been prepared, had plans and procedures tested and in place, and (at least from what was apparent via the news venues) appeared to have performed as well as they could given the circumstances.
This is important: planning, preparation, exercise, coordination are vital. We may not know for a while – if ever – how many more souls would have been lost if those precautions were less effective – or, conversely, how many lives might have been saved if those precautions were better.
Whether your domain consists of a school, hospital, military base, supermarket, office building, nursing home, apartment building, mall, corporation, small business, family home, or wherever; whether you’re in a position of responsibility, a tenant, customer, student, employee, CEO, parent, or chance visitor; whether you want it to or not; sometimes, really really bad things happen. And, when they do, planning, preparation, situational awareness, testing, and all that other stuff we don’t think about or don’t make time for could make all the difference in the world.
Whether the context is school or campus safety, emergency building evacuation, business continuity, disaster recovery, terrorism, pandemic planning, or whatever little or big scary monsters under the bed you need to worry about, my advise is simple. Start with the basics – threats, vulnerabilities and common-sense contingencies. Think about ways to mitigate the worst risks. If you don’t have at least reasonable contingency plans in place, just look at today’s headlines. Then, check out those monsters under your bed.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families and the people of Newtown, Connecticut.
Easy-to-Use Template for Comprehensive Business Continuity Management to Enhance Your Organization’s Resilience
This easy-to-use yet comprehensive package of 1,700+ pages and 50 files of expert, step-by-step instructions and editable templates is just what you’re looking for if you need…
- A clear, actionable Business Continuity Plan (BCP)—either freshly minted or totally revamped—and you need it yesterday!
- To collect detailed information and perform a thorough analysis of your business.
- Confidence to actually welcome an unexpected request from your CEO, auditor, or supply chain partner to see “the BCP.”
- A no-fuss method to keep your BCP continuously updated or expanded.