On Monday evening November 18th a severe storm hit an area north of Toronto. At 9:50pm, I was sitting reading a magazine, next to my son who was playing on his X-box. All of a sudden the TV went black and all the lights went out. I quickly looked outside and didn’t see any lights in the neighbourhood. I walked over to the kitchen where we keep an ‘easy to grab’ flashlight. I told my son to wait in the living room and I went down to the basement where I keep an additional flashlight. When I came back, my son and I decided to brainstorm the possible consequences and things we needed to take care of, since we had no idea how long it would last. Our list included items such as; check if the schools are open in the morning and to use our smartphones as alarm clocks. At 5:30am the next morning, the power was restored just before I was planning to take a freezing cold shower. It appeared that the power had been out for 50,000 households. I explained to my son later that we are prepared for an emergency. We always have jugs of water and extra food stored. We also have a large gas burner and several gas cylinders, so we can at least get by for a week with a family of 4.
This may explain why I was surprised to find out that many companies don’t have any emergency plan in place. This means when an emergency happens the thinking and preparation still has to start. Knowing that emergencies mostly strike unexpectedly and that many companies and people may be detrimentally affected; it implies taking a huge risk. Preparations for emergencies including security needs are essential. It may be a good idea to enter into several agreements with security vendors so you know that your company will receive support since aid may be limited. Involving vendors in the early stages of the thinking process makes sense and prevents you from ‘staying in the dark’ if an emergency situation occurs.