The bombings at the Boston marathon were a tragic reminder that terrorism can strike anywhere at any time. Business Continuity professionals should be thinking about the effects of a terrorist attack and incorporate those scenarios into their plans. Mike Jennings wrote an excellent, lengthy article in Continuity Insights about lessons we can learn from the bombings.
More than half a million spectators lined the route of the marathon. Thanks to the excellent preparations of responders, the casualty rate was lower than it could have been. Mike cites access to superior hospitals and healthcare professionals as the primary reason for the lower casualty rate. Medical personnel were already near the finish line where the bombs went off, and hospital trauma centers were nearby.
Superior preparations played an important role
There have been a number of joint testing and training exercises that involved the City of Boston, hospitals, first responders and other officials. According to Mike, “These exercises are never convenient; however the pay-off on marathon day is proof that they are worthwhile”.
Alternative methods of communication are needed
In the aftermath of the bombings, voice cell circuits were overwhelmed, but SMS text messages were getting through. Make sure everyone understands how to use SMS and practice with text messages during drills.
Social media was useful, but...
There was a massive amount of false rumors and misinformation spreading on social media. Follow official agencies on Facebook and Twitter to have reliable sources of information.
Remote access to computer systems is important
Twice the city was in a mandatory lockdown with businesses closing for the day. Many companies realized, though, that employees don’t always take their laptops home. “Make sure you can sufficiently staff your business from a remote location”, says Mike.
We all hope and pray that terrorism will never affect us, but the reality is that all of us are vulnerable. Effective preparations can at least ensure that if an incident occurs, we can minimize casualties and business disruptions.