PlanB Consulting

Learning from Incidents

I was sent an exercise report from a colleague in Shetland who had taken part in Exercise Sulla, an exercise looking at the response to an incident similar to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

I am working on doing some incident training for the team which would respond to an incident. One of the thoughts I have had for a while is, do we actually from learn from reports.

We all read avidly, I am sure, the reports from exercises and incidents we have been involved in and perhaps reports from our industry but, do we read reports from outside our industry. When an incident occurs there is usually an enquiry and more often than not the report is published online and is available to all. From all reports there are general lessons to be learned and on reading them you might discover areas when your own plans or procedures are lacking. Even if the report is not entirely relevant sometimes the report template and the way it has been laid out can be useful if you have to write up an incident or an exercise yourself. I have in the past looked at the Parliament report on the Terminal 5 incident, The Eurotunnel report on the trains stuck in the tunnel and the BAA report on last year’s snow at Heathrow. All have good lessons and are well worth reading.

So my advice to business continuity managers: “If when you hear of a report on an incident being published on the news, try and find a copy of the report and learn the lessons from it!”

If any reader is aware of any reports which would be of interest to readers, could you send us the location and we will make it available to the readership.

About Charlie Maclean-Bristol

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is one of the Founders and Directors of PlanB Consulting. He is also the Training Director of Business Continuity Training Ltd., a UK-based training provider accredited by the Business Continuity Institute. Charlie is a former Business Continuity Institute board member and one of the very few Fellows of both the Emergency Planning Society and the Business Continuity Institute.

A former Infantry Captain in the British Army, Charlie held several emergency planning, business continuity and crisis management positions within the energy and utility industry before founding PlanB Consulting in 2007. Over the past twelve years, Charlie has delivered business continuity consultancy in 6 of the worlds 7 continents, frequently providing full business continuity roll-outs to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors.

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