Monday, August 29, 2011

Planning Pays

Hurricane Irene took more than 40 lives, and left millions of people without electric power for hours or a few days, flooded neighborhoods, disrupted business, left thousands stranded for a few days in U.S. airports, damaged homes and business buildings up and down the east coast, and cost the late summer tourist industry on the east coast millions of dollars.

All on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

By contrast, more than 1,800 people died during or as a result of Katrina, and the estimated property damage was around $81-Billion.

The Institute for Crisis Management has been saying for years that two-thirds of all business or organizational crises are preventable, and those crises that cannot be prevented, like a hurricane, can be significantly less traumatic and damaging with the proper planning and training.

Irene has helped prove that point, again.

Those organizations that had an operational crisis plan were prepared to protect their property and their people.

Those organizations that had a crisis communication plan were able to inform everyone of what was happening, what to do, when to do it, and reassure them they would all get through it.

Those organizations that had a continuity and recovery plan were ready to get back to work, to school, to serving their constituents as soon as it was safe to do so.

There will be unbudgeted costs and losses, but for those who had a plan; had trained with their plan; and used their plan, the costs and losses will be significantly smaller than they could have been and life will return to near normal within weeks, rather than years, if ever.

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