Volume 14 (2020-21)

Each volume of Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning consists of four 100-page issues both in print and online. Articles scheduled for Volume 14 are available to view on the 'Forthcoming content' page. The articles and case studies confirmed for Volume 14 are listed below: 

Volume 14 Number 3 - Special Issue: COVID-19

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor, Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning
  • What has worked in your COVID-19 response and how will the pandemic affect the profession overall?
    Regina Phelps, Founder, EMS Solutions Inc

    While pandemic plans were brought into the spotlight during the avian flu scare and H1N1 pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic has been far more severe, with many new challenges to manage. As this pandemic will likely continue to have a major impact on lives and organisations at least until the beginning of 2022, organisations need to stop and take stock of their response and make any necessary adjustments now. This paper explores what has worked well in the initial six months and what needs improvement going forward. It also discusses how the pandemic will affect the profession over the long term. The paper concludes that the pandemic could prove to be a boon for the industry, but only if professionals are proactive in making it happen.
    Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-COV-2, coronavirus, pandemic, crisis management, business continuity, pandemic planning

  • COVID-19: Transitioning to the new normal
    Cary Jasgur, Manager of Organizational Resilience in Management and Technology Consulting, Mazars

    As organisations worldwide have starting invoking return-to-work plans, many people stand on the sidelines wondering what this ‘new normal’ will be like. This paper walks the reader through the various phases of transition to this new normal. It explores the options that organisations can take to safeguard their employees while trying to create a safe, comfortable and caring environment for their returning employees. The paper also highlights the various procedures, protocols and processes that organisations can put in place to ensure the transition process goes as smoothly as possible.
    Keywords: COVID-19, business continuity, disaster recovery, pandemic planning, return to work, new normal

  • Using analytics to support a utility’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic amid an uncertain evidence base
    Jeff Schlegelmilch, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, et al

    Energy utilities play a critical role in fostering disaster resilience. Much of the world is increasingly dependent on the availability and reliability of safe and efficient energy. In addition to its importance for industrial, commercial and household functionality, energy provision is increasingly significant in determining health and equity outcomes during a disaster. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, issues of workforce protection and absenteeism are critical for public safety as well as for the continuity of operations for utilities and the businesses that rely upon them. However, COVID-19, and pandemics generally, have rapidly evolving and imperfect evidence available to support rapid and real-time decision making. This article reflects the initial setup and operations of frameworks utilising analytics to support decision making from March through July 2020 for a major US electric utility. These initial strategies have enhanced decision making and provided a foundation for additional integration of the evidence base and use of analytics for anticipated decision support in the coming phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for future pandemics of unknown aetiology.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, decision support, utilities, electricity, absenteeism, modelling

  • How the Alpha Bank Group stayed resilient against COVID-19
    Stelios Aronis, Head of Business Continuity, Alpha Bank Group

    This paper describes the methodology applied by the Alpha Bank Group in order to develop and implement its business continuity plan for pandemic response. It then discusses the action taken by the company in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Greece, from February to April 2020. The article demonstrates the key elements for an efficient pandemic response plan that protects the health and safety of employees, ensures continuity in business operations and provides a seamless service to customers.
    Keywords: pandemic, COVID-19, banking, compliance, business continuity plan, ISO22301, risk management, resilience

  • Building on lessons learned: A US Midwest healthcare system’s COVID-19 response
    Julie Bulson, Director of Business Assurance, Spectrum Health

    While noting that the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, this paper reviews the incident response at one Midwestern healthcare system in order to identify lessons learned and key modifications to strengthen the response. The paper describes how a strong modified incident command structure provided the framework for the response. These modifications were based on successes during a system-wide electronic medical record implementation and included workgroups specific to a subject or discipline. These workgroups reported up through the traditional hospital incident command structure, allowing for situational awareness at all levels. A solid meeting cadence ensured proper visibility into the work being completed, while a data analyst group provided the much-needed data to make good decisions. Ensuring cross-pollination in the workgroups assisted with communication throughout, while establishing a regular cadence for all staff e-mails and executive updates supported frequent communication and information sharing to all 42,000 employees.
    Keywords: emergency preparedness, healthcare, COVID-19, pandemic, lessons learned, coronavirus, planning, disaster, response, incident command, HICS, hospital

  • COVID-19: Lessons learned and next steps for internal audit
    Ian Beale, Vice President, Gartner

    This article describes the issues and challenges faced by chief audit executives (CAEs) in supporting their organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It describes the range of most urgent issues arising from the changes made by — and imposed upon — organisations, together with the various responses deployed by different CAEs in different sectors and at various stages of the pandemic. The insights provided are based on the experiences of clients of the Gartner Audit Leadership Council. The article concludes with some reflections on how CAEs can support organisational resilience.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, internal audit

  • Communicating through a pandemic: What one police agency has learned so far
    Katherine Severson, Planning Chief of COVID-19 Incident Management Team and Emma Poole, Public Information Officer at COVID-19 Incident Management Team, Calgary Police Service

    As the world continues to be gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency response agencies are faced with the dual roles of protecting their employees while also protecting the public. In order to safely provide service to the community it serves, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) has sought to protect the health of its employees by changing processes, adopting new safety procedures and providing additional equipment. Concurrent with this, it has faced the challenge of how to communicate new, system-wide changes effectively and quickly during a period of unprecedented information overload, social uncertainly and scientific complexity. This paper shares lessons learned from months of using strategic communication to meet operational objectives. It draws on case studies from the incident management team to highlight specific challenges and successes in trying to reach 3,000 employees and the public at large, while trying to keep pace with the constantly changing threat of COVID-19.
    Keywords: communication, pandemic, planning, emergency management, police, social media

  • Hospital Incident Command System: Preparedness and application for COVID-19 response in California’s Central Valley
    David Matear, Healthcare Executive Advisor, Stanislaus County Health Services Agency and Rejeanna Hunter, Director of Quality & Safety, Memorial Medical Center

    This paper describes the types of emergency and disaster events that could potentially impact the healthcare system and the need for healthcare executives to be knowledgeable and able to respond to emergencies quickly and appropriately. It discusses the barriers to the engagement of hospital and healthcare senior executive teams in emergency preparedness activities and proposes a pragmatic approach for the engagement of healthcare executive teams. Drawing on the experience of hospitals in California’s Central Valley, the article hypothesises that a full implementation of this programme would have supported hospital executive teams to provide a more effective and efficient response to the management of COVID-19.
    Keywords: emergency preparedness, executives, healthcare, hospital, Incident Command System

Volume 14 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor
  • Organisational resilience: Shifting from planning-driven business continuity management to anticipated improvisation
    Jelle Groenendaal, Research Director, The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Ira Helsloot, Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen

    As unpredictable major-impact events are on the rise, many organisations have adopted an organisational resilience (OR) approach for dealing with these so-called ‘black swan events. What OR comprises is subject to ambiguity and multiple interpretations. This article presents a perspective that makes a distinction between predictable risks and unpredictable major-impact events. The article argues that predictable risks would benefit from an adaptive and efficient business continuity management (BCM) capability. Using several cases, the article demonstrates how the adaptability and efficiency of BCM can be improved in practice. For unpredictable events, this article calls for a strategy of anticipated improvisation. Both strategies necessitate executives and regulators to accept less planning and to put more trust in the expertise of specialists and managers.
    Keywords: organisational resilience, adaptability, cohesion, diversity, clutter, s-testing

  • Maintaining academic continuity in the midst of COVID-19
    Cheryl Regehr, Vice President and Provost and Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Innovations in Undergraduate Education, University of Toronto

    The delivery of high-quality academic programmes is central to the mission of any university. For this reason, maintaining academic continuity must be a key aspect of their response to a major disruptive event. A previously described model for ensuring academic continuity in universities presented four phases: pre-planning, approaching crisis, crisis and post-crisis. COVID-19, however, has created unique challenges thanks to its global reach, impact on all aspects of societal operations and continuously evolving nature. This article describes the implementation of a model for managing academic continuity in the initial stages of COVID-19, and the continued adaptation of the model as the crisis has continued and work towards recovery has occurred without a clear end in sight. Reflections are offered with respect to: using established policies and processes; grounding decisions in core values; implementing broad and frequent communication; acknowledging and addressing exhaustion; and taking the time mid-COVID-19 to consider lessons learned.
    Keywords: academic continuity, higher education, COVID-19, pandemic, academic disruption

  • A whole city approach to mass casualty planning
    Tabitha Beaton, Planner, Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Katherine Severson, Lead, Emergency Management Team, Calgary Police Service

    Traditionally, the response to mass casualty incidents has focused on the front line. However, effective management of these incidents relies on the seamless coordination of emergency, municipal and community services activities. The coordinated, complex planning required for response and recovery requires a holistic planning perspective, extensive engagement and collaborative problem-solving approach. This case study looks at the challenges, opportunities and solutions encountered by the Calgary Emergency Management and Calgary Police Service in its collective planning process for mass casualty incidents. The intent of Calgary’s mass casualty incident plan is to provide an overarching framework to outline how all of the individual organisational plans come into effect to provide comprehensive response and recovery efforts. It does not provide an in-depth look at the frontline emergency services response, but rather looks at how these critical efforts can work in conjunction with a range of additional municipal, private and non-governmental agencies to provide for the full spectrum of needs victims, families and the community will have during and following a mass casualty incident.
    Keywords: mass casualty, collaboration, emergency and disaster management, response planning

  • Utilising social media within incident response programmes
    Kerry A. Anderson, cyber security and risk management professional

    Humans are social creatures that learn from observing others. Until this century, the reach of social learning was confined to small groups or locales. However, the pervasive adoption of social media platforms has provided the means to augment social learning and empower virtual groups by transcending geographic and time boundaries. The broad adoption of social media across all demographic groups gives augmented social learning potentially broad applications, including within the realm of incident response. This article will discuss how augmented social learning can be a powerful tool to manage communications during high-impact ‘black swan’ events that require speed and agility when disseminating information, and for which no standard incident response ‘playbook’ is available.
    Keywords: social learning, social media, pandemic, COVID-19, incident response

  • Using unmanned aircraft systems for live event monitoring: The benefits of aerial observation
    Sam Bogan, Public Safety Programme Manager, University of Colorado Boulder Police Department

    What started as a project on how to detect unwanted drones during University of Colorado Boulder football games has turned into a programme providing live aerial coverage of campus events. The use of drones (or unmanned aircraft systems) has improved situational awareness for event command and control, enabling adjustments to tactics and strategies during events. This paper will detail the humble start-up of a drone programme, describing the need for partnerships, the basics of flying, the essentials of a drone programme, and examples of drone use during incidents and/or events. The reader will walk away with an understanding of the benefits of their agency having an ‘eye in the sky’ during incidents or events.
    Keywords: drone, unmanned aircraft system, public safety, university, UAS, event security, emergency management

  • Estimated value realisation: A comparison between standard and adaptive business continuity approaches
    David Lindstedt, Founder, Adaptive BC Solutions

    The adaptive business continuity (BC) approach may provide value at least 11 times faster than historical BC approaches that are modelled on existing standards such as DRI’s Professional Practices and ANSI standard ISO 22301. By analysing the life cycle of standard BC practices as outlined in the BCI’s ‘Good Practice Guide’, estimating the hours it would take a hypothetical organisation to execute those practices, and then estimating the value gained from each practice, it is possible to calculate a time to value (TTV) based on the estimates for the two approaches. As TTV calculations are relatively new to the BC industry, this article anticipates and addresses several possible objections. The resulting calculations, while potentially subject to a wide margin of error, indicate that the adaptive BC approach is significantly faster at providing value. In some BC life-cycle phases, the TTV of an adaptive BC approach may be 18–20 times faster. These results have broad and significant implications in the preparedness industry, several of which are highlighted in the conclusion of the article.
    Keywords: adaptive business continuity, recovery value unit, time to value

  • Meeting compliance under Medicare and Medicaid emergency preparedness Final Rule requirements
    John Walsh, Jr, Co-Director, Program in Disaster Research and Training, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Nursing home residents experience death and injury at a disproportionately higher rate than other populations during and after a disaster. This paper addresses the complex chronic conditions of vulnerable residents that will become even more challenging due to compounding effects from continued disasters and rapid population aging. In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) established national emergency preparedness requirements for long-term care (LTC) and skilled nursing (SN) facilities. The problems facing nursing facilities created by an increasing population to serve, present a challenge to meeting the highest level of requirements and responsibilities for healthcare preparedness. This paper argues that nursing facility personnel are required to participate in an unfamiliar culture of operational processes, using terminology foreign to their profession, in an environment requiring planning and decision-making skills using organisational concepts they most likely have never experienced. Furthermore, unlike hospitals, LTC and SN facility staff have not had extensive access to standardised training to meet the current requirements. The paper concludes that this environment adversely affects emergency managers and unnecessarily increases their planning and operational burden.
    Keywords: emergency preparedness, long-term care facilities, CMS Final Rule, skilled nursing facilities, care homes

Volume 14 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Lyndon Bird, Editor
  • Epidemics and pandemics as high consequence events: Expanding leadership challenges and responsibilities in business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
    Christopher J. Biddle, Founder, TDS Reaction Training Concepts

    High-consequence events are not new to the daily operations and functions of security and business continuity leaders. However, the incidence of epidemics and pandemics over the past decade has changed the way organisations must be able to respond. For example, as seen with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the forced closure of business functions and the move to remote operations creates additional challenges for leadership. This paper discusses how leadership must be prepared to react quickly and efficiently in response to the recommendations from government and recognised health organisations, while also being proactive in recognising and understanding the epidemic/pandemic, its symptoms, and the physical and emotional effects on personnel. Leadership must also understand the importance of staying connected, and be proactive when the workplace changes its physical setting. This paper will also address the issues and implications related to the return to pre-event operations, as well as preparations for the next high-consequence event.
    Keywords: pandemic, leadership, response, high-consequence events, remote operations, return to normal, employee welfare

  • Epidemics and pandemics: Effects on societal and organisational resilience
    Michael Blyth, Chief Operating Officer and Simon Mallett, Head of Risk Consulting and Operations, Risk and Strategic Management Corporation

    The implications of a serious disease outbreak extend well beyond the disease itself. The levels of sickness and mortality, while important, can be quickly overshadowed by cascading risk implications that affect the global economy, threaten societal confidence, weaken the rule of law, present a risk to food security, and can lead to inter- and intra-state conflict. When multiple countries are concurrently impacted, the provision of life-saving and time-sensitive aid and humanitarian assistance can also be affected, leading to isolation and a domino effect of collapsing societies. When nations start from a low baseline level of resilience, then the speed of government and infrastructure failure may be swift. Resilience across every facet of government, community and business is critical if the disruptive effects of the disease and the more far-reaching effects of the fear the unseen enemy creates are to be controlled. This article describes the interconnected risks and impacts found within a pandemic crisis and how COVID-19 can impact every facet of society and business — providing the backdrop against which risk practitioners can contextualise how their respective organisations can plan for, respond to, manage, and ultimately recover from a pandemic crisis.
    Keywords: pandemic, epidemic, crisis, resilience, disruption, disaster, COVID-19, risk, threat, outbreak

  • Practising with the public: Special events training exercises for the 21st century
    Ian Becking, Director of Operations and Lindsey Kirby-McGregor, Program Advisor, Calian Emergency Management

    Using the example of a large exercise programme developed by the government of Canada in preparation for several large special events in 2010, this article provides an argument as well as recommended practical strategies for incorporating a realistic simulated public response to an emergency event, to be utilised by both government organisations and the private sector.
    Keywords: social media communication, emergency management training, public information officer training, emergency management exercises

  • Transitioning from incident to crisis management to continuity of operations
    Robert S. Cook, Independent international consultant, CDEX International and Raelene Anderson, Manager of enterprise business resilience, Delta Dental

    This paper explores the phases of emergency management following an incident through to continuity of operations. It summarises many of the obvious but often missed problems while responding to and recovering from an incident. The authors discuss what they feel is the key step in managing any incident or crisis — setting up the response quickly and correctly from the very beginning. They give insight about how to bring the right people into the room, how to communicate effectively throughout the incident and, most importantly, when to pull in the business continuity personnel so they can begin assessing the situation to ensure a smooth transition between phases and teams.
    Keywords: emergency response, crisis management, continuity of operations, all-hazards

  • Rising oceans, flooded towns: How Georgia coastline communities are readying to recover despite a changing climate
    Jennifer Kline, Coastal Hazards Specialist, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, April Geruso, Director of Resilience and Emily Preziotti, Hagerty Consulting

    Climate change is posing a significant threat to the coastal counties of Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Hagerty Consulting have recognised this threat and are facilitating a nine-year project aimed at developing a disaster recovery and redevelopment plan for the state’s coastal communities, and providing state-wide technical assistance. This paper provides an overview of this planning initiative and summarises the many insights into the pre-disaster recovery and resilience planning process gained from this project.
    Keywords: planning, disaster recovery, disaster redevelopment, resilience, local recovery, sea level rise, climate change

  • As the field of emergency management evolves, is it time to enhance its training methods?
    Christina Crue, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting and Kathy Francis, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management and Public Safety

    Each year, millions of individuals participate in emergency management training courses. Training opportunities are plentiful and offered by a variety of governmental, public and private providers, in a variety of locations and teaching environments, using a multitude of different topics, styles and methodologies. Training opportunities are vast and often designed to support a broad audience of learners, including those seeking to attain new skills as well as those seeking to retrain or change career. Yet, despite the abundant opportunities for training, including education, instruction, exercises and drills (including training on how to train), in the period following the activation of the emergency operations centre, when the time has come to implement the tools and actions taught, there remain problems. With all this training available, what exactly are workers learning and what are they forgetting? This paper will look at the need for an evolution in traditional emergency management training methods, such as what is working, what is not working, and how methods could evolve to enhance training engagement, increase knowledge retention, and improve worker performance.
    Keywords: emergency management, retention, performance, modern learner, microlearning, emergency response training

  • What University of Alaska Anchorage learned from a M7.1 earthquake
    Ron Swartz, Emergency Manager, University of Alaska Anchorage

    Teaching university students and employees how to react during a damaging earthquake can save lives and prevent injuries. Most earthquakes are over in less than a minute, but the real work of emergency managers begins once everyone climbs out from under their safe place and checks for damage to bodies, buildings and infrastructure. Business recovery and academic continuity can take years. Supplementing uniformed responders with trained employee volunteers can make a huge difference toward recovering quickly. Universities are generally not charged with the role of providing public safety in the same way that government is, so they must train and exercise regularly to get faculty, staff, administrators and even some students to transition quickly during crisis to new responsibilities within an incident command system (ICS) command post or emergency operations centre. During an area-wide emergency like an earthquake, a university campus must be able to run a significant part of its response and recovery efforts on its own, as governments and other institutions around them around will be doing the same — and competing for similar resources. This paper will discuss the advantages and outcomes of providing emergency response training to civilian employees and students, empowering them to become first responders, recovery workers and incident managers to supplement the few professionals paid to fulfil those roles on a fulltime basis.
    Keywords: damaging earthquake, citizen responder, situational awareness, continuity

  • Decision-making during VUCA crises: Insights from the 2017 Northern California firestorm
    Cliff Thomas, Risk consultant and adjunct professor, Colorado State University and the University of Denver

    Decision-making is a central aspect of crisis management, yet research and literature directed at the topic are scarce. Consequently, practitioners have access to very few new decision-making insights. To help fill this knowledge gap, a study of leader decision-making during the 2017 Northern California firestorm was undertaken. The outcomes of the study suggest that crisis decision-making may be less process-driven and consequence-focused than has been previously thought. Rather, a myriad of human elements appear to have significantly influenced crisis decision-making. Three influences discussed in this paper involve the fluidity and variability of decision factors, leader and team trust, and leader wellbeing. Finally, the paper discusses the practical implications of the study’s outcomes.
    Keywords: crisis leadership, crisis management, decision-making, human element, trust, VUCA