Most of you cannot fail to notice that it is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking this weekend. This has produced a flurry of television programmes, the 3D version of the Titanic film and the anniversary cruise which is visiting the site of the wreck. I personally think that going on a cruise to the site of a disaster which over 1500 people were killed is a little macabre, but the cruise company thought it was worthwhile and the cruse has been sold out for months.
The first lesson for us is that an unsinkable ship sunk, and due to their belief in this they didn’t have the right amount of life boats for people on board. I still go round businesses trying to sell them business continuity and the attitude is that it would never happen and you are just pointing out the possible disasters because you want to sell them something. I think as business continuity people that we need to keep pointing out that no matter how many fail safes you have that they can always be breached; so you must think that if an accident can happen it will. If we think how much safety was built into the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan but the unthinkable happened and there was a release of radiation. If a disaster can happen it will, regardless if you have built an “unsinkable ship”.
My second point is about anniversaries. If you have a disaster with multiple loss of life, then as business continuity people we have to think through how we should deal with the anniversary. This should be built into our “Looking after people” or “Staff Welfare Plan”. Anniversaries of disasters can be emotional times for those involved and can bring back the emotions of the event, therefore it has to be treated sensitively by the organisation. You want the organisation to move on from the disaster but you also want to recognise that people who were involved want to take the time to think about the incident and consequences of it. In looking at Human Aspects of business continuity and staff welfare it is worth getting a copy of Guidance on the Human Aspects of Business Continuity, PD25111 from the BSI and ensuring that you have all the areas of guidance covered in your BCP. An article on the contents of the PD25111 can be found at /knowledge-zone-articles/a-review-of-business-continuity-managment-guidance-on-the-human-aspects-of-business-continuity/