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Did You Know That...

1948 years ago in AD 63 an earthquake in southern Italy by the gulf of Naples seriously damaged the ancient city of Pompeii causing an undetermined number of deaths and spread out destruction, but the locals went to work rebuilding in the same spot until they were buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano 16 years later in AD 79.

Galveston TX Hurricanes

Average Brushed or hit every 2.94 years
Average Direct hit every 8.63 years

The Great Storm of 1900 - Sep 8th 1900 - Pop: 42,000 residents
Category 4 @ 135 mph -Great loss of life between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals – officially 8,000

The 1915 Storm, August 17th, Category 4 @ 135 mph
42    people dead in the Galveston area
$60 - 1915 million dollars in damage

Ike Sep 13th 2008 - The third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States
Final landfall in Galveston Texas as a strong cat 2 with cat 5 equivalent storm surge winds extended 120 miles from the center.

Blamed for at least 195 deaths – 74 in Haiti and 112 in the USA 300 still missing. - Damages estimated at 24 billion (2008) US Dollars

Resulted in the largest evacuation in the state of Texas history and the largest search and rescue operation in US history

Nuclear Issues

Chernobyl, An Experiment Gone Wrong

On Saturday, April 26th, 1986 at 1:23 am, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded.
Ironically, the experiment consisted in testing how the power plant would respond in the event of an accident. The operators at the plant wanted to bring down the power output of the reactor to 25%, but over-confidence, poor training and poor knowledge of how a reactor works caused them to overdo it, and they ended up bringing down the power output to 1%. When they then tried to bring it up to 25%, the reactor overheated and exploded causing the worst nuclear accident in history.

Five U.S. nuclear reactors in earthquake zones

Status of the Nuclear Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant

How a Reactor Shuts Down and What Happens in a Meltdown

Hazards of Storing Spent Fuel

Timeline: Nuclear Plant Accidents

Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl

In graphics: Fukushima nuclear alert

Fukushima victims: homeless, desperate & angry

Japan Panel: Fukushima nuclear disaster "man-made"

More, Did You Know That


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Business Continuity: The Importance of HR and its Commitment to BCP
Posted on Thursday, February 17 @ 20:20:07 PST by editor
The Importance of Human Resources and its Commitment to Business Continuity
By Ralph Petti, MBCI, CBCP

For many years, the value of disaster recovery and business continuity planning has been generally accepted. Most companies provided funding for disaster recovery solutions and empowered their Information Technology organizations to initiate programs to keep the company running. While budgets have always been tight, taking 2% to 4% of an IT budget to fund a workable and practical disaster recovery plan was usually a reasonable request to make of management.

Following several global tragedies (i.e., Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, among others), companies needed to a holistic plan to continue business operations. Management reached out to other organizations, such as their supply chain partners, to begin to understand what all of them would need to recover from a disaster, how quickly they could recover and what would be needed to help them all prepare for contingencies.

Human Resources departments always seemed to be on the periphery of involvement in preparation for events which could impact the ways a company conducts business. More importantly, the areas of human resources and other such management organizations have always focused on the well-being and protection of their employees at such times. Did they succeed?

Think about it…you are at work and something happens which captures the attention of the local media or results in a call from a colleague at work to your home. Your family tries to call you, but there is no answer at your desk or on your cell phone. They call your boss and that person is also not available.

Naturally, a next step would be to call the main number of the company and ask for someone in charge. You would most likely be directed to the Human Resources department for an accurate update.

Following the onset of a disaster event, Operations and Information Technology departments will be focused on recovering vital systems and resources. Business departments will be focused on relocating staff and making sure that they can communicate so they can conduct business. All other organizations may or may not carry their assigned roles and responsibilities forward. What role should Human Resources provide? Perhaps a central source for information and action?

Human Capital Management is a term that describes the manner in which companies protect their employees and key supply chain partners. While this term has been viewed as somewhat crass, the point is that the re-activation of all employees, with safety as a priority, is paramount to any company.

Some companies are even instituting certain forms of personal recovery solutions which help employees protect their families and possessions. This developing approach can help ensure that, at the time of a disaster, employees can return to work knowing that their families are safe. With this approach, you have fully engaged employees when you need them most!

One definition of human capital management, according to Wikipedia, states, ”Human Capital Management refers to the stock of competences, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” The key words here are “perform labor.” Following the onset of a disaster, what will it take to have your employees “perform labor”?

Opportunity exists for HR departments to be stakeholders involved in the development, testing and response to a disruptive event. If such an event occurs, HR’s efforts to gain information, when all else fails, will be productive. If not, then HR may be scrambling as much as you are to learn what is happening and what the timetables and impacts will be.

In essence, a committed human resources organization is one of the critical building blocks of an effectively planned, rehearsed and executed disaster recovery response. It’s time to engage them.

Ralph Petti is President and CEO of RP Risk Advisors

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