United States: Practical Lessons From 911

For me, the anniversary of 911 is principally for remembering and paying respect to the 2996 victims at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and that Pennsylvania field, as well as the many individuals who have lost their life and limbs since that day protecting their fellow citizens. Thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan and others in hot spots around the world ... or in the day to day accidents that are inevitable to the operation and training of our military. (See, The Cost of War Since September 11, 2001 and The DOD Casualty Report) I realized the other day that because of IEDs, it is now common to see young men and women with high-tech artificial legs. The list could go for pages if we consider emergency responders, police, various civil servants and countless others.

The book, Starship Troopers is remembered for the fun and campy movie version but the book was actually controversial because it described a post-WW III society where the benefits of life were available to all, but only veterans could vote or serve in office. Regardless of whether one agrees with that premise, the book's description of a citizen described the sacrificial behavior of those who protect their fellow citizens and others:

"Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part...and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live." ― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Or as George Orwell bluntly put it:

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

Or read the US Army Values.

One doesn't have to be a militarist or to agree with a particular philosophy to be thankful for those individuals who put their own wellbeing second to protecting others.

I am deeply thankful to my dad who was a WW II and Korean War vet and a 16 month POW in Stalag 17. A scared 19 year old braving 26 bombing missions at a time when about six of ten bombers didn't return. I am thankful for the cop working third shift and the young kids with new buzz cuts traveling in the airports.

Who are you thankful for today?

Emergency Planning and Response, Continuity and "What If?"

Did you know that it is National Preparedness Month? Both FEMA and OSHA are actively using this month to promote preparedness by individuals and businesses. Given the 911 Anniversary and the start of the storm season, the timing is obvious.

My wife and I just read James Patterson and Bill Clinton's surprisingly good book, "The President is Missing." Courtesy of former President Clinton's past experience and contacts, the book reminds us of plausible and even likely it is that someday our electrical grid, water distribution system, or financial markets may be physically disrupted or harmed by cyber warfare. Ted Koppel was so worried that he wrote a nonfiction book, "Lights Out," a few years ago that will chill you with explanation of why some sort of event is likely, and that government, utilities and citizens are not undertaking reasonable counter steps and preparation. And of course recent Russian intrusions and efforts to influence voting in a number of countries, North Korea's devastating hack of Sony and recent cyber-attacks on cities" IT systems are on all of our minds.

And consider the oncoming Hurricane Season, winter weather, tornadoes and other natural risks. See 2017's detailed FP Business Hurricane Response FAQs, which have been repeatedly revised since Katrina:

Comprehensive FAQs For Employers On Hurricanes And Other Workplace Disasters

September 6, 2017 ... employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of hurricane-related disasters; consequently, in addition to federal laws, ... is of more widespread applicability than just the 2017 hurricanes, and may be helpful following any unexpected natural ...

We have learned from Katrina, California fires, Houston and Puerto Rico, but has the typical business adequately considered the effects of natural and manmade disasters on operations and how to restore and maintain operations

What-If Planning.

I have written in many settings on the need for a "What-if Committee," recently in the context of the corporate damage wreaked on entertainment and other businesses by the egregious executive behavior exposed by the #Me Too movement. See my Post, "What If, Harassment, Me Too, and the Media."

While the sophistication of the effort varies based on the size and type of business, location, markets and other factors, every employer should periodically gather management responsible for areas such as: Executive Leadership, Supply Chain, HR, Media and Advertising, Sales, Maintenance and Engineering, Safety and Security, and other relevant disciplines.

And go through a What-if Analysis. Businesses who have evaluated Combustible Dust or Process Safety Management (refineries, chemicals, etc.) understand the basics of this exercise. Basically, list every conceivable hazard to operations and continuity, evaluate the level of potential harm, and the probability. Determine the greatest risks by degree of harm. Weigh probability. Brainstorm and think of the cascading problems that would occur. Determine steps to prevent or mitigate harm, and develop plans to respond to the events, maintain business or restart. Never forget the human factor. Our responses differ from mechanical operations and may be anything but logical.

Apply this analysis to hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes or other natural disasters depending on risk. Consider workplace shootings and security issues, the effect of pandemics, cyber-attacks ... whatever is relevant. Brainstorm and look for the obscure or simply unrecognized hazards. The exercise can also lead to quality and operational improvements. And don't forget potential harm to utilities.

Lessons We've Learned.

I recall working with major Gulf area businesses in the days following Katrina trying to determine how to assist employees when banks, ATMs and all retail were down, not to mention safety lessons associated with clean up and receding water. Forest fires have taught utilities and cable providers lessons about reducing risk. Shootings have not only led to security improvements but also to making "Trauma Packs" available in First Aid kits. Houston and other similar events created potable water issues for weeks afterwards, and we'll be processing lessons from Puerto Rico for years.

What Have You Learned?

We all chuckle at the inevitable rush for milk and bread as snow approaches. However, what have you done in the event that a storm disrupted utilities for a week? What if your city or region's electric grid went down for two weeks? Water, gas and sewage would soon stop. Grocery stores carry about a week's worth of product at best. One need not be a Prepper, but do you keep several weeks of canned or freeze-dried food? Basic water containers or purification tablets? Batteries and small solar chargers? Essential prescriptions? A bit of cash?

Let's not be caught unprepared.

FEMA.

OSHA.

Howard

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions