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90/10 headed for 95/5
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’d like to talk about testing and exercising your skills, plans, etc. I know that this has been discussed briefly in other threads, but I thought a recent mind-numbing experience might help to illuminate the importance of actually testing disaster plans. Please bear with me while I set this up.

I’m a consultant in the areas of security management, operational contingency planning, and emergency/crisis planning, preparedness and management. I spent most of this past Monday morning in a closed-session Board of Directors meeting with one of my clients. This is a private sector organization for which I’d developed an integrated crisis/emergency plan to cover a range of identified operational risks.

The entire mandate was to develop the plan and to manage its implementation across the organization. The key components of the implementation phase were training of the line managers, supervisors and emergency response personnel, installing dedicated resources, gear and equipment, testing of the plans, a “de-bugging” exercise, and training the organization’s plan managers on how to up-date, revise, and maintain the plans moving forward.

When it came time to actually test the plan (through simulation exercises, post-mortem reviews, de-bugging and revision and re-testing) there was great resistance from the operational managers and supervisors. This is not unusual, since these activities are typically disruptive to the day-to-day business operations. In this case, the testing and ancillary activities never happened. After repeated appeals to my client contact to “impose” the testing phase across the organization failed, I withdrew from the project and sent the president of the organization a letter outlining the situation and pointing out the risks and liabilities associated with not testing the plan.

Well, as you’ve perhaps guessed, this organization experienced a crisis situation this past weekend. Predictably, their response to the situation was ad hoc, disorganized, and ineffective. Fortunately, they only suffered business disruption; no one was injured. I’ve been re-engaged by the organization to investigate what happened: what went right and what went wrong, and how to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. While I’m still investigating, it’s already clear that they had taken the plan that I developed for them, put it in a nice binder and placed it on a shelf to collect dust.

The obvious lesson to be learned is that it’s crucial to test and exercise your survival skills, your disaster plans, but-in/out plans, etc., etc….to the greatest extent possibly. To many of you this will go without saying; to others it may be something you’re thinking about but haven’t started yet. My opinion is that you don’t have to simulate a total SHTF scenario. You can use/test/experiment with your skills individually; Break your plan(s) down into common-sense portions and exercise them. Revise your plans as necessary based on your experiences. Regardless of your environment, your skills, and your plans, the more you can test things, and revise them to address what doesn’t work, the better off you will be if there’s a real emergency. Test…revise…test again, repeat as necessary.

And, finally, please share your experiences, so that we can all learn what you learn.
 

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Testing Your Plans Is Crucial

Great Post 357.

You are right, how many people actually have a plan in place and if they do, how many times is it rehearsed? I work in a huge facility and I can't remember the last time that we had a fire drill or storm drill. It has been at least 3 years. Those of us who have been with the company for a long time know the standard drill but many of the new people coming in have no clue. If something big were to go down it would definitely be mass confusion and chaos.

When I watch the news I see so many stories of house fires and storms that resulted in death and I have to wonder, wasn't there an evacuation plan in place somehow? I remember having these things as a child, my parents made us rehearse them often. I don't know of anyone who does this now.

These things should be mandatory, it would certainly save a lot of lives. It is unfortunate that TPTB would rather push it aside and concentrate on the all mighty dollar than to put an evac plan in place to ensure that the ones who help them profit are going to be safe in an emergency.
 

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90/10 headed for 95/5
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Snow. I've seen this sort of thing time and time again professionally.

There aren't a lot of specific items that cross over from my professional life to the sorts of things that we're all preparing for personally. Some of the threats and risks and the same, some of the plans may have similarities, and some of the "mind-set" crosses over.

Nonetheless, it's one thing to plan, and prepare, and gather information and resources. But in a real crisis/emergency situation, unless one's actually got a tested plan and skills that they're familiar with, and have actually used (however one chooses to do that), then in an emergency many people will wind up running around like headless chickens. Those who have experience in the military, law enforcement, fire/rescue, emergency services and the like will have a head start, since they're already trained in how to respond to crises and other highly tense situations...and they will also know that training and exercising is critical!

That's the key...thinking through various scenarios, options, and then testing our prep's to the greatest extent possible.
 

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Great post 357,
I also manage security and we do practise fire drills etc, costs £10,000 in disruption so its only twice a year but it is invaluable. the mount of people that try to keep working sometimes astounds me tho. I am afraid I nelect doing this at home where it would cost me more personaly than financially ( my wife and childens lives ( thanks to thoughtgirl for reminding me of my failure in this). I do try to use and evaluate everything I have knives, tools , food and emergency resources for the eventuality. Thanks to sticks I realise I cant carve for tuppence and need to work on my woodcraft skills to yorkie to prove my fishing needs work and Josiah to show I need to concentrate on my gardening too. Thanks to Kev and the mods for the site and the inspiration to be better prepared. and to God for bringing me here in the first place.
 

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90/10 headed for 95/5
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great post 357,
I also manage security and we do practise fire drills etc, costs £10,000 in disruption so its only twice a year but it is invaluable. the mount of people that try to keep working sometimes astounds me tho. I am afraid I nelect doing this at home where it would cost me more personaly than financially ( my wife and childens lives ( thanks to thoughtgirl for reminding me of my failure in this). I do try to use and evaluate everything I have knives, tools , food and emergency resources for the eventuality. Thanks to sticks I realise I cant carve for tuppence and need to work on my woodcraft skills to yorkie to prove my fishing needs work and Josiah to show I need to concentrate on my gardening too. Thanks to Kev and the mods for the site and the inspiration to be better prepared. and to God for bringing me here in the first place.
Thanks my friend! Speaking for myself, the trick I think is to break the "testing, trying and exercising" down into managable portions. Not many of us can afford, financially or time-wise, to simulate an SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario...but at the very least we can be making sure that we're familiar with our gear, that our plans are actually practical and "do-able."

I too get down in my boots when I see Sticks, and Te Hopo and the other talented folks here carving spoons and plates and bowls, and making knives out of files and hacksaw blades, etc., etc., etc., etc. :eek: Or others making solar-powered water wells, etc., etc. Fantastic stuff! I love it...the ingenuity of the members here is astounding.
 
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Here Here!!!!
Test, experiment and all that. Change your attitude to just 'do'. When practice become habitual and the norm, you go into autopilot mode.
When I use to travel frequently, it got to a point where I only needed a few hours heads up to get ready to fly out.
I always took the same clothing, my binder full of DVD’s with software that I needed to do my job, passport ready, all my maps were in one place, good to go.
I don't travel anymore, but every weekend, I go up to my bol and just 'do' something. I don't look at is as prepping, I don't look at this activity as something special. It's part of my life. I think I'm lucky that I have this set up, that I have a bol, a home, vehicle, good job and all that.
If I loose my job now, it would not be an issue for an extended period of time.
If I loose my vehicle, I'll get another.
If I loose my bol, I'll find another.
If I loose my home, same thing.
There is no problem that cannot be solved (except for extreme's) given enough time and confidence.
So....get off your ass and exercising your skills, plans...
Just do something....
Here's a good start.......turn off the power for 24 hours,
observe and document,
analyze, criticize,
make changes and find solutions
test.
repeat.

This is an ongoing task, it doesn't stop.
Notice I didn't say 'suggest changes', MAKE changes.

btw....go drive your network administrator bat$hit insane and test their backup systems...go ahead and accidentally format your c: drive, and tell them you need a full system restore!
I'M KIDDING.....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T DO THAT!
Do you even have that set-up at work?
hmmmmmmmm....
 

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90/10 headed for 95/5
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here Here!!!!
Test, experiment and all that. Change your attitude to just 'do'. When practice become habitual and the norm, you go into autopilot mode.
No question about it, the more routine it is the better off you'll be.

btw....go drive your network administrator bat insane and test their backup systems...go ahead and accidentally format your c: drive, and tell them you need a full system restore![/FONT][/COLOR]
I'M KIDDING.....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T DO THAT!
Do you even have that set-up at work?
hmmmmmmmm....
I have done stuff like this, and not always on intentionally. LOL :eek: :D
 

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I use to be a security supervisor for a large port facility in British Columbia......

we conducted various tests twice a year for the staff of the port facility, and we were aways met with resistance from the staff there.

Keeping in mind this port dealt with...
- large amounts of Pulp (fire was a possibilty)
- large amounts of lumber (fire was a possibility)
- various chemicals (fire and toxixc spills were a possibilty)
- and a large amount containers with various products inside

We met with much resistance from the staff of the client that we in the end had to reduce testing to once a year and we trained and tested the security staff almost weekly/bi-weekly (all shifts) as this was a 24hr/day operation.

Running various exersises was allowed our company to be efficient.

We had various situations from power outages to the RCMP needing to board a vessle in order to apprehend and criminal..

Your message of running exersices and keeping your plans up to date is extremely valid...


Remember your plans last month may have included a certain route to leave the city...but now its construction season on the roads and that road may be affected this month...

Or an extension to a road may be completed this month that wasnt completed last month and offers a faster route out of the city...

The possibilities are endless as to what can change from one month to the next.


Very good post 357revolverfan, and a great reminder
thanks Tugger
 

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Watchin tha world go by
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preparation is not something you do and set aside fer later. conditions and situations change so:

test---retest--retest--and when yer done---do it again
 

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Communications Bunker
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I have been testing one of my bug out plans all week with great success. In the event of a local disaster where I have to evacuate for a short time (less than a month) I have made arrangements to be able to live from the confines of my car and a tent during warm months. I have been out all week. I will retest this again in cooler weather for cool weather bugging out.
 

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awake and aware
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Paradox mentioned fire drills at the work site.
I worked on a floor high above ground for a company. We had a fire drill and I was surprised how many people could not walk down just over a dozen flights of steps during a test fire drill. These were not old people either. They were normal people. I am sure that some of them had conditions perhaps with their lungs, but they could not finish the drill. This was the first time I experienced this firsthand and how those people greatly slowed the flow of people leaving the building. Now had this been real, I'm sure people would act differently but some of them would not get out due to their bad shape.
I was also surprised that for the drill there were not ambulances outside because most of my co-workers were in pretty bad shape and people were very out of breath and someone could've went down easily.
Just another example of the importance of being ready. Not many of those people were ready to evacuate that building in the event of an emergency.
 

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A good instance there then of using drills to change things for if the eventuality arises. that kinda thing should be risk assessed and if the people are really out of shape they should have a personal evacuation plan. I guess thats what the thread was all about. Testing and adapting evolving the way we prepare for and deal with emergencies.
We are having a power down at home over the weekend, no electricity except for the fridge, to test briefly our resilience.
Have a good weekend guys n gals.
 
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