ReBoot – Family Emergency Planning

A CIO's VoiceHaving been in corporate IT for more than a decade, I am intimately familiar with disaster recovery planning and business continuity planning. I have been through hundreds of tests and several emergencies. So I know the importance of emergency planning. My wife is also experienced in emergency medical planning having worked in hospitals and is an expert in dealing with emergencies.

Together we make a great team when it comes to emergencies. But most families don’t have this level of expertise or experience.

Case in point, last week my brother-in-law and his two kids got into a severe car crash on their way to the park. The accident occurred less than a mile from their home in their neighborhood. The accident could have been tragic but they were lucky and only had a few minor bumps and scrapes — the miracle of seat belts and air bags.

The chaos that occurred to notify family and friends became problematic especially with everyone spread wide and far.

Here are some steps that my wife and I have taken which should help in the event an emergency occurs.

  1. Carry an ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) card in your wallet. I have mine written on the back of a business card and I carry it behind my driver’s license.
  2. Have 2 or 3 names of people (friends/family/neighbors) and contact numbers on this card. Try to include people that can handle themselves under pressure. During an emergency, especially a family one, emotions run high.
  3. Establish a family-calling tree. Everyone will want to know details, but if your family is large, you will spend more time on the phone explaining the same information than dealing with the emergency. Delegate this task to others.
  4. Establish a will. I know most people don’t like to think about it. But tragedy can happen in a blink of an eye. Establish what will happen to your estate or who your children’s guardians will be. Don’t assume this will be handle properly. These are important issues that should be addressed.

Let’s face it; no one likes dealing with emergencies. But they do happen because life happens. Put in place processes that can help you and your family deal with events and help you will sleep better at night.

Disasters From A to Z

It amazes me that in this day and age there are firms out there with absolutely no disaster recovery plan. I am not talking about a comprehensive 200-page manual but just a simple calling tree. How can any business operate without some level disaster recovery preparedness?

Let’s first define disaster. I would define a disaster as any event that adversely affects your operations. These events can affect your computer operations in any number of ways. Recovery back to normal operations can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

Having worked in NYC for my entire career, NYC has been the center of many events. Many of which I have been through.

Here is a list of disasters that a firm should be prepared for:

Acts of God, Air-conditioning failure, Arson, Blackouts, Blizzards, Boiler explosions, Bomb threats, Bridge collapse, Brownouts, Brush fires, Building collapse, Chemical accidents, Civil disobedience, Communication failure, Computer crime, Disgruntle employee, Denial of Service, Earthquakes, Embezzlement, Explosions, Falling objects, Fire, Flood, Hardware crash, High winds, Heating/cooling failure, Hostage situation, Human error, Hurricane, Ice storm, Interruption in public service, Internet outage, Coup d’état, Pandemic, Water main break, Terrorism, Labor dispute, Lightning strike, Malicious destruction, Military operations, Mismanagement, Personnel non-availability, Plane crash, Phishing, Public demonstrations, Buggy software, Radiology accident, Railroad accident, Sabotage, Sewage backup, Snowstorm, Software failure, Sprinkler failure, Telephone problems, Theft of data, Transportation problems, Vandalism, Computer viruses, Water damage, Worms, Gas leaks

This lists gives you something to think about.