PlanB Consulting

People in the recovery process

I was wandering around the BBC news website yesterday and came across the following headline “At least eight people have been killed in a car bombing in central Iraq, security officials and medics say”. Normally I would have thought nothing more of it as it seems to happen all the time in Iraq, and moved on to the next story. This time I paused to think, triggered by a TV programme I watched on Monday called ‘7/7 One day in London’. The programme’s focus was not on the events of the day but rather the stories of the individuals, many of who hadn’t spoken about the events before, who had been either injured by the bombs, responded to the event or had family members killed by the event. The programme, for me, was very moving as it focused on the human side of disasters, rather than the technical response to the event and what happened during the day. As business continuity people we are concerned about planning for the next disaster, developing criteria for invoking the plan, calling together the various levels of teams, teaching incident management, and writing all of the response infrastructure into a plan. We do think about the human aspects of the incident, this is usually at the operational level. We assign responsibility for looking after casualties, and will write into the plan for usually, human resources, a role of liaising with the families of the dead or injured. In planning a response to an incident we all know that “people are our most important assets” and that we must look after our staff, but after that, once the roles are written into our plan, I think we are often too concerned with putting in place the response infrastructure than thinking about our staff, stakeholders or members of the public who could be affected by the incident. In our planning do we underestimate or even take into consideration the feeling of those affected by the incident? What about the injured or people who have had loved ones killed? Have we put into place the long term support? Have we taken into consideration the mechanisms for looking after your people in the long term? Coming back to the 8 killed in Iraq, the programme has me made more aware of news headlines like this, it is not just a case of statistics, but rather real people killed whose family’s will suffer the same sort of emotions, along with the ongoing effects as those I experienced watching the 7/7 television programme. So when you are writing your next plan think through, make sure you have properly taken into consideration looking after people affected by the incident in the short and longer term.
Obviously Business Continuity Training would like to pass on their sincere condolences to the families and friends of the servicemen killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. In next weeks bulletin I will put in some notes on looking after your staff taken from “Guidance on the Human Aspects of Business Continuity; PD25111”. The programme mentioned in this weeks bulletin can be watched on Iplayer at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01kl0yv/7_7_One_Day_in_London/

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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