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Disaster After Disaster


Disaster After Disaster

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Ross McMicken
Ross McMicken
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (12/12/2012)
Ross McMicken (12/12/2012)

Your DR plans should be tested with a scenario where more than half your staff can't be found or can't connect. In real life, you can't count on everyone being available.


I've always made this a priority. In a disaster, you can't assume that people can be contacted, or that they will come. I've told my boss that if my family is in trouble, I'm not coming to work.


For anticipated disasters (storms), some employers just send people off to another city before the problem occurs. If you've been designated as a DR resource, you don't get a lot of choice in that situation.



We use Propane here, but you have to be careful with nat gas. Lots of people assume the lines will be working in a disaster, and they may get shut down. A local supply on site is needed.


In a city, it may be impossible to legally store enough propane to power a generator for any length of time. The gas infrastructure here in Texas is well developed, and generally doesn't require any power to operate. I've never had the gas supply go out. After Ike, we didn't have power for 10 days, but always had gas.
ken.trock
ken.trock
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Actually for many NJ residents, landlines were out for days. At least a cellphone can be charged from a car battery.


I'm in NJ but our company is spread out with 4 big data centers in different parts of the country. One is 20-30 miles north of NYC but I don't think had much problem during or after the storm.

I'm was one of the lucky ones with power and able to work remotely during Sandy.

Ken
Mad Hacker
Mad Hacker
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I live on the gulf coast and consider natural diasters (hurricanes) and DR recovery plans to be a way of life. My employer has a diesel generator that is capable of supplying our facility with uninterrupted power for approximately 1 month. I personally think that this may be a bit of overkill because in the event of a disaster of this proportion, most of us will likely have issues (loss of life or property) that would at least temporarily have a higher priority than work; and the utilities would likely be restored by the time that we would resume normal operations.

Two of the most important things that I've learned from my past experiences with natural disasters are: 1) Maintain a solid communications plan/infrastructure including a listing of contact information for all critical employees 2) If you decide to evacuate, you may encounter difficulty when attempting to return due to fuel shortages, debris blocking the roads, traffic and curfews.

My brother works for a call center and whenever the area is threatened by a hurricane, they fly their critical support staff and their families to St. Louis and establish a temporary call center there. They also provide meals and plan fun activities for the families, and have a team that stays behind in order to inspect these employees homes for damage and if necessary perform repairs with building materials that are staged in tractor trailers.

The important thing is to have a plan, critique your plan and when practical, periodically test your plan.



Sigerson
Sigerson
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Mad Hacker (12/13/2012)
My brother works for a call center and whenever the area is threatened by a hurricane, they fly their critical support staff and their families to St. Louis and establish a temporary call center there. They also provide meals and plan fun activities for the families, and have a team that stays behind in order to inspect these employees homes for damage and if necessary perform repairs with building materials that are staged in tractor trailers.


This is so enlightened it's almost unbelievable that an American company could be this smart. Who are they? I want to work there.

Sigerson

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ndal88a
ndal88a
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Two examples of disaster recovery plans going bad:
- my former employer had a small office in Wall Street and then came 9/11. Nothing happened to office, but lower Manhattan was closed. Company had DR plan and there was DR site in somewhere Jersey but when people got there, it was already taken by some other company. Plan B was to fly employees to headquarters but all flights were grounded
- other former employer, after hurricane Vilma in Miami, DR worked, generators started and services were up and running but then people realized nobody can deliver diesel. Luckily company didn't run out of diesel, electricity came back just when there were only fumes left in diesel tank
- current employer has DR site somewhere in north and asking them how long companies typically stay there after disaster, their answer, they still have New Orleans area companies operating there, since hurricane Katrina.



jay-h
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ndal88a (12/13/2012)
Two examples of disaster recovery plans going bad:
- my former employer had a small office in Wall Street and then came 9/11. Nothing happened to office, but lower Manhattan was closed. Company had DR plan and there was DR site in somewhere Jersey but when people got there, it was already taken by some other company. Plan B was to fly employees to headquarters but all flights were grounded
- other former employer, after hurricane Vilma in Miami, DR worked, generators started and services were up and running but then people realized nobody can deliver diesel. Luckily company didn't run out of diesel, electricity came back just when there were only fumes left in diesel tank
- current employer has DR site somewhere in north and asking them how long companies typically stay there after disaster, their answer, they still have New Orleans area companies operating there, since hurricane Katrina.



Ond of Mayor Guliani's initiatives was a major state of the art emergency command center for government services in case of emergency. Unfortunately it was housed in the WTC.

DR requires more than 1 kind of approach. A fire or explosion in your building destroys your equpment but leaves infrastructure around you intact, getting replacement facilities is not hard. A large scale weather crisis or earthquake is the opposite, your equipment may well be intact but you have no infrastructure (it doesn't have to be a 'Sandy', every few years a major ice storm will bring down power to large areas, taking weeks to come back on line). And everyone will be competing for whatever infrastructure is left.

What about a major disease pandemic? Transportation could be shut down. Population placed under quarantine. Or large scale rioting (LA?). Even after Sandy the town where my daughter lives was on complete lockdown dusk till dawn. No foot traffic, no vehicles, not even residents. Consider businesses located in such an area (there were quite a few).

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
Mad Hacker
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Sigerson (12/13/2012)
Mad Hacker (12/13/2012)
My brother works for a call center and whenever the area is threatened by a hurricane, they fly their critical support staff and their families to St. Louis and establish a temporary call center there. They also provide meals and plan fun activities for the families, and have a team that stays behind in order to inspect these employees homes for damage and if necessary perform repairs with building materials that are staged in tractor trailers.


This is so enlightened it's almost unbelievable that an American company could be this smart. Who are they? I want to work there.


World Omni in Mobile, AL. They are owned by J&M Enterprises out of West Palm Beach, FL. They handle automotive financing for Southeast Toyota. They're fairly demanding but have great perks and performance bonuses. My brother has won all expense paid trips to Italy and Atlantis in the Bahamas and they treated his family exceptional well during his wife's fight against cancer. My brother's been there 14 years and counting...



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