Disaster Preperation

An interview excerpt with Jeff Chester, Vice President

Interviewer: How can I prepare myself for any type of disaster?

Jeff Chester: That is a great question and that is the way a risk manager or an operations manager needs to be thinking before a disaster hits. What are my vulnerabilities? And one of the things that we try to do in advance of any problems with a company is look at each of their properties and do an all threats assessment. And what I mean by all threats assessment is, for instance, what type of neighborhood are they in? Are they near an industrial neighborhood that could have some type of a chemical fire? Are there train tracks within a few blocks to where if there was a derailment with some type of hazardous substance, is there a possibility that their building could be affected by that? We try to have them work with local authorities, get to know your local fire department so that they know who you are. So when there’s a catastrophic widespread event they are like, “I have a relationship with those guys.” You call them up and they come over and they help you out. Now when you talk about not being in hurricane company, the list is pretty long of potential threats and hazards. You got to think about manmade disasters or natural disasters.

What is the most extreme weather condition that that property is going to endure? Is it frigid temperatures with potential waterline breaks? Are they near a river or a lake where they might have ground water or a flood come in? Within the facility there’s a sprinkler system. What are the potentials of those just malfunctioning? You know we even go as far with some organizations to do active shooter scenarios. We unfortunately hear about it on the news all the time where somebody comes in with some type of mental illness and there’s a mass shooting, or someone who commits acts of violence. So that’s the thing that we want to think about, what are we going to do in that scenario? We may not be perfectly prepared, but we certainly need to think about what actions we are going to take. And ACT helps in those areas to prepare people for those unknown disasters.